How big a problem is email spam, and have you found anything to help reduce the volume?

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Filters can help, but they also can block valid emails. Opting out of the emails that allow it can help for a time, but they catch up again and it takes time out of the day to opt out. It helps to use free email accounts when you are responding to anything on the Web, so that account gets the spam.

Marji Dickson
InterDyn-Innovative Integrations
Pittsburgh, Pa.

We tried to block known spam servers from sending mail to our server, and invariably prevented good mail from coming in. One client was in the middle of a data conversion and the data files it sent were blocked because of our aggressive approach. We scaled back from complete blocking to a spam software program for our Linux mail server, individual users unsubscribing, new e-mail addresses for the worst spammed employees, and strong policies for giving out an office e-mail address. Our latest approach has eliminated two thirds of the activity.

Partner Insights

Sean Atkins
ACC Accounting Solutions
Fresno, Calif.

The problem is getting much greater. We have added email filters through our system that sends them automatically to a spam area, which is cleaned out each week. This has saved us enormous amounts of otherwise wasted time.

Jay Rubin
DFC Enterprises,
Laguna Beach, Calif.

After spending every day dumping 75 to 100 spam messages over and above what I "taught" Outlook to dump, I started using Spam Inspector from Giant Software. This is the first product that did what it said it could. Easy to install, it creates a "quarantine junk" file so you can check to be sure your message from mom is not screened. A toolbar shows up with "this is spam" and "add to enemies list," so you can tag incoming items that slipped through.

Carolyn S. Sechler, CPA
Sechler CPA
Phoenix, Ariz.

Our policy has merely been to hit the delete key as quickly as possible when we receive an unwanted e-mail. However, because of the increased risk of virus infiltration via e-mail, as well as the increasingly graphic nature of "porn" spam, we will probably have to introduce a more pro-active policy in the near future to stop the receipt of unwanted mail.

Mike Healy
Apptech
Cheshire, Conn.

I use IHateSpam and am pleased with it as it integrates with Outlook. My partner uses a differently named product, but the look, feel and behavior are very similar to IHateSpam. Prior to installing these tools, we relied on Outlook Rules which worked, but was still laborious as new rules were continuously required.

Gene Prescott
C. Eugene Prescott, CPA
Greenville, N.C.

We have written filters in GoldMine and put filters on our Web server. Within a few days, we were back where we started. I believe it is impossible to develop a "anti-spam" software because the spammer, just like the virus developer, will always be one step ahead. At our billing rates, we are spending about $250 per staff person dealing with spam monthly. Multiply that by millions of businesses across America and it will cost more per year than to rebuild the Twin Towers.

Phil Crocker
Business Solutions Northwest
Salem, Ore.

I get 10 to 25 letters a week from the a) wife, b) brother, c) sister of the a) President, b) Ambassador, c) wealthy businessman of a) Uganda, b) Zaire, c) Zimbabwe, d) Nigeria, who want to enter into a confidential transaction wherein I would get a) 5 percent of $15M; b) 10 percent cent of $60M (that’s better) or, well, you get it. This is a nuisance, especially since I’m on a variety of distribution lists for our club, and I get one letter from each.

Jan Gardiner CPA
Gardiner Consulting
San Jose, Calif.

Huge. We receive 25 to 60 "spams" per day per user. We have worked with no less than five different tools in an attempt to reduce the amount received by our office. Only one package has worked with some moderate success. In the end, the tools do what they advertise they can do, but they take an inordinate amount of time to set up and administrate. Our in-house administrator spends no less than four hours a week tuning/tweaking our spam filter.

Bob Gaby
Information Technology Group
Encino, Calif.

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