I have started doing this with some of my accounts and it is definitely worth it. I just had to have faith that if someone really needed to get in contact with me, they will find a way.
Everyone has a breaking point when they won’t tolerate something any longer. I have a few email addresses, including one that I’ve had for over 10 years. The amount of spam comes and goes.
The newer version of MS Outlook does a better job of putting suspected spam into the Junk folder, and some of the anti-virus programs have their own spam folders and ways of filtering email. And we have also set up a double-layer spam filter on our hosting account that filters out email that never even gets downloaded.
But in spite of all that effort, spam continues to get through and increase. So I reached my breaking point and decided to play the ultimate anti-spam card — I am going to change my email account.
One of my worst accounts for spam is [email protected]because we have it on our business website. It has been scraped off by automated email harvesters that collect email addresses from the web and put them into spam databases.
Changing an email address is not as simple as coming up with a new account name like [email protected]because that original account is in many people’s address book, on our websites, used for account signups and registrations. Just killing the account and adding a new one is going to leave all of those legitimate people who have my old address wondering how to contact me. Plus if I have used that account for an online registration and I needed to do a password retrieval or have any automated notifications — like a domain renewal or billing receipt — that process is going to fail.
Changing an email address to stop spam is a desperate move that creates a lot of extra work for you. As nice as it would be to delete the old account and add a new one the same day, setting up a transition plan over a period of time is more effective.
THE 30-DAY TRANSITION PLAN
You can start with adding your new email account and making it your default account for all new messages so that all new messages are sent from this account and all replies are defaulted to this account.
Next notify everyone in your address book of your new address and the final date for the old address — let’s pick 30 days from now. Tell them to change your email address to your new address and remove the old one. If you don’t have all of your contacts in your address book and are using MS Outlook, you can use the auto-complete to pick up all of the recent email addresses.
Start a new email with your own address in the TO: and then tab to the BCC: (blind copy). Type an “A” in the BCC box, and you get a list of all the email addresses starting with “A.” Select the ones you want to include. Do this through each of the letters and you will get a pretty good list of the recent contacts. Another option is to select your “Sent” folder and sort them by the “Sent To,” which will give you a list of the people you have sent to.
Next you want to add an “Autoresponder” message to your email account notifying the sender that this email account is no longer in use and to contact you preferably by phone. You can provide the new email but if you do, do not type out the full email address as this can be pulled off the message. Instead use something like “My new address is myinfo at corectech.com.”
If you are using your email address on a website, avoid using it as a link that can be clicked on. This is how the spam harvester robots are able to pull it off the page. Instead set up the email
address as an image — which can be interpreted by a real person but a spam harvester will not know it is an email address.
The next step is to change your email address on any online sites and services. Ideally you have a password log where you have recorded all of your passwords and online registrations. If you don’t, you will have to go through your messages and try and recall all the places you need to change your email address. One of the
common ones is a domain name registration. When you register a domain name, you need to provide your contact information and when the domain is up for renewal you will get an email. Another common one is your antivirus registration. If you do online banking, your email may be linked to your account.
DELETE YOUR OLD ADDRESS
The last step is to finally pull the pin and delete that old account. Make sure you do not just delete the account in your Outlook or mail package. It needs to be deleted from the hosting account of the domain you are using, otherwise the mail will pile up until the mailbox is full.
Trust me the first time is the hardest. I have started doing this with some of my accounts and it is definitely worth it. I just had to have faith that if someone really needed to get in contact with me, they will find a way.
I do this with my cellphone numbers every time the contract expires and I change carriers. I get a new number and only tell the important people and services I want to have the new number. It works great!
Allan Dubyts is the CEO of SafeAndCertified.comlocated in Winnipeg. SafeAndCertified helps businesses save money and better train their people using online training and testing.