Tips to prevent spam
Do you receive unsolicited advertisements in emails, text messages or apps? Or do you receive other messages you do not want or do not trust? If so, this is considered spam.
Spam is illegal in the Netherlands. The Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) takes action against spam. However, you, too, can do various things yourself to limit the inconvenience that such messages cause.
Do not share your email address or telephone number on the Internet
Never share your email address or telephone number on social media, internet forums, newsgroups or other websites. Spammers have robots that search the Internet automatically for email addresses and telephone numbers, so make sure yours cannot be found on the internet.
Tip: Do you like posting messages on the Internet? And posting is not possible without your email address? In that case, you can use a temporary email address. Or create a new email address. In that way, all unsolicited messages will go there, instead of the email address you use for friends and family.
Do not give your email address or telephone number so easily
Do you want to enter a competition? Or would you like to get a free product? In that case, you often have to enter your personal data. Think about that very carefully. If a company has your data, it can send you unsolicited messages later on. Also, the company can sell your data to other companies.
Are you buying something online? Be sure to unsubscribe from unsolicited messages
When buying something online, you often enter your personal data. The online store may use these data to send you messages and newsletters. If you do not want that, you must have the opportunity to indicate that in advance, usually by ticking a box.
Unsubscribe from newsletters
Did you, as a customer, give your contact information to a company? In that case, the company can send you newsletters and other messages. But the company must ask your permission for this. If you agree, the company can only send you messages that are related to the company. For example, a car rental company is only allowed to send you messages about rental cars.
Do you receive newsletters from a company, and you no longer want to receive them? Unsubscribe from those newsletters. In each newsletter, you must have the opportunity to do so easily. Most newsletters have an unsubscribe button at the bottom. Have you unsubscribed from a newsletter? If so, the sender can no longer send you any unsolicited messages.
Never click on a link you do not trust
Some emails promise that you will never get spam again if you click on a certain link. Sometimes this link is called an ‘unsubscribe link’. But the link can be fake. Have you clicked on it anyway? The sender will send you even more unsolicited messages. Or they may install malicious software on your computer.
Protect the email addresses of others as well
Are you sending an email to many people at the same time? Hide each email address for the others. You can do this by entering all email addresses in the BCC field. In this way, someone who receives your email cannot see the other recipients of the message. And they cannot use the email address to send spam.
BCC stands for ‘Blind Carbon Copy’. This means you are sending a copy of your message to many people, who cannot see that others have also received the same message.
Do not respond to chain letters
Sometimes you get an email promising you a prize if you send the message to family or friends. These are often messages from spammers. Do not forward such messages. If you do, and your family and friends respond to the message, the spammer will get their email addresses as well.
Never buy through unsolicited messages
Never buy products from spammers, no matter how tempting it might be. Because with your purchase, you encourage the spammer to continue these practices.
Use a spam filter
Spam filters are small programs for your computer that protect you against spam. The filters prevent spam from entering your mailbox. Or they set the spam aside in a special spam inbox so that you are not bothered by them as much.
Do you have an email program from your Internet provider? In that case, the provider often has a built-in spam filter. Inquire with your Internet provider.
Do not give intruders a chance
Criminals try to get into your computer using the Internet. So protect your computer well. Install a firewall, which protects your computer from intruders. Inquire with your Internet provider about your options.
Block spam messages
Mark spam messages as spam in your email program, and block the sender, if possible. You will no longer get any messages from the sender. How to mark messages and block senders is done differently in each email program. If you are unable to mark messages and block senders, ask your provider or search the Internet for help.
Change your email address
Were you unable to get rid of spam even after using the above tips? Does the spam still bother you? Consider changing your email address. And choose a provider with a good spam filter. Ask around to see if others can suggest you any providers.
Report your spam to ACM
Do you get a lot of spam from one sender? You can report this to the Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM). The more reports we get, the better we can act against it.