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stop spameMail spam is one of the greatest annoyances of our time.

For the third and fourth quarter of 2008, the Messaging Anti-Abuse Working Group reported that approximately 90% of all eMail was spam. That’s an incredible number. It clearly demonstrates how much time and energy must be wasted to receive, identify and get rid of spam.

While spam protection has become quite effective at recognizing unsolicited bulk eMail, it’s still impossible to filter out and stop receiving spam.

Besides regular spam, we receive a lot of advertising in our inboxes. Although these eMails are often personalized, they still classify as spam. However, these eMails were usually created based on information we made available about ourselves, rather than straight forward eMail guessing.

Hence, one way to help stop receiving spam is to control the information you’re releasing about yourself. The best way to do this is to protect and hide your eMail address.

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1. Scramble your eMail address

stop receiving spamWe often have to share our eMail address online. So what can be done to make it difficult for a bot to simply copy the information?

Rather than publishing your eMail address in its standard format, you could scramble and thereby conceal it. It requires an attentive and intelligent mind to recognize a scrambled eMail address and re-assemble it into a functional format.

A scrambled eMail address can look something like this: tina at make use of dot com

And this is the unscrambled eMail address:

2. Hide your eMail address in an image

stop receiving spamA similar solution is to hide the eMail address within an image. There are several tools that will do this for you. One which provides many other functions is EmailCover.

Not only does it produce an image containing your eMail address in a CAPTCHA format, it also hosts the image and provides you with a set of links you can use to embed the image in your website, signature or on social network sites. Using the bookmark feature you can directly share your eMail address with the most popular sites. Finally, the tool records how often the image has been viewed.

stop receiving spam

Similar tool: E-Mail Icon Generator.

If you want to be sure only the smartest people can guess your eMail address, combine 1 and 2.

3. Encode your eMail address

If you must post an active eMail link, for example to give people a quick and easy way to contact you, you can encode your eMail address in a way that is not readable by spambots, which extracts eMail addresses from websites.

MailTO Encoder will decode your eMail address using Javascript. The result is a rather unsexy gibberish of characters.

how to stop spam

Similar tools: E-mail Anti-SPAM Encoder (no Javascript), Hivelogic Enkoder

4. Hide eMail behind a test

how to stop spamWith a tool called, you can protect your eMail address by hiding it behind a simple test.

At’s start page you enter your eMail address and the site will provide you with an ultra short scrimmed URL, along with custom HTML to share your eMail address on Twitter, Facebook, within HTML documents and in forums.

The link will lead anyone needing your eMail address to a quick test. If they manage to pass the test, they will be rewarded with a fully active link to your eMail address.

how to stop spam email


5. Don’t share your eMail address

The last resort is to not share your eMail address at all. Set up temporary inboxes or forms through which you can be contacted indirectly.

For example whspr! allows you to create a temporary form, which will relay messages to your eMail address. Users have to prove they are human by passing a CAPTCHA test.

stop spam mail

Similar tools: kontactr, contactify

Summary of tools mentioned in this article:

Hide eMail address in image:
E-Mail Icon Generator

Encode eMail address:
MailTO Encoder (Javascript)
E-mail Anti-SPAM Encoder
Hivelogic Enkoder (Javascript)

Hide eMail address behind test:

Contact forms:
whspr! (temporary)

MakeUseOf has previously reported on how to identify and manage eMail spam. Dean denounced Top 5 Current Email Scams You Should Know About Top 5 Current Email Scams You Should Know About Top 5 Current Email Scams You Should Know About Read More . Ryan explained How To Deal with Spam and Report Email Scams in the US How To Deal with Spam and Report Email Scams in The U.S. How To Deal with Spam and Report Email Scams in The U.S. Read More . I outlined how to Get a Grip on eMail Spam Before It Gets A Grip On You Get a Grip on eMail Spam Before It Gets a Grip on You Get a Grip on eMail Spam Before It Gets a Grip on You Read More .

How do you protect yourself from too much spam?

Image credits: mzacha, ItsMe1985

  1. dols
    January 17, 2010 at 3:17 am

    how to protect email address that already has been included in advertising database, and received many smapl every day?

    • Tina
      January 17, 2010 at 3:38 am

      You could install a spam filter or manually set up filters that sort those eMails directly into a separate folder.

  2. John Shanyinde
    November 11, 2009 at 1:15 pm

    I'm working on a free service that transforms a mailto: link into an http:// link.

    This way an email link is represented by what appears to be a standard hyperlink to a web page.

  3. anonymous
    November 9, 2009 at 3:46 pm

    For the client side you also can use . Its a free disposable email service. No login or password needed.

  4. Euros Evans
    November 8, 2009 at 6:56 pm

    Fed up with spammers abusing my email address - I now reject all emails to my inbox unless they have gained 'permission' to do so.

    I use a script to add a random PIN number to my email address that changes every 2 minutes.
    By sending an email to my email/PIN, the sender obtains a long term right to have their message delivered to me. I can withdraw this 'permission' at any time.

    Have a look at my blog for more information:

  5. Tim
    November 8, 2009 at 2:41 pm

    "Spam spam spam spam, wonderful SPAM!!!" A popular topic of Monty Python, I believe! Good article about hiding your email! One of the first questions I ask someone who is complaining about email spam is if they're posted it on their website and how. Thanks for some good tips on how to post your email WITHOUT asking for spam.

    I touched on email spam on my blog a few times...

    ALSO one of the funniest things is the spam comments I received on that post (posted about that too!)

    • Tina
      November 8, 2009 at 5:05 pm

      Thanks a lot for sharing, Tim!

  6. Ajay
    November 8, 2009 at 6:06 am

    If you're running WordPress, why not just use a contact form plugin or even a plugin to obfuscate the email

  7. Tinh
    November 8, 2009 at 3:40 am

    Yes, it is really useful and I will use it immediately as I receive about 200 spam messages per day

  8. Jonathan Cohen
    November 7, 2009 at 11:55 pm

    Unfortunately this only prevents email addresses from being scraped from the Web. Spammers also generate millions of email addresses by combining random numbers and letters. Eventually your unique email address is bound to come up.

    • Tina
      November 8, 2009 at 5:10 am


      unfortunately that's true. However, since these randomly targeted spam mails are never personalized and often contain relevant keywords, they are hopefully caught by the spam filters.

  9. Netti
    November 7, 2009 at 9:09 pm

    I use services from I use their free service to generate email addresses based on the website that I register for trial software and services. Not only can I filter out spam should they come, but I can also know who is sharing my email addresses to the spammers. If you pay them, it's another place to backup and organise your emails if you want.

  10. Chris
    November 7, 2009 at 6:56 pm

    The bad thing about using images is that the average visitor expects to click on a link. Not being about to copy and paste the address could turn off some. A couple other solutions may be a contact form so no address is displayed.

    I also use SneakeMail. I create an email front, as it were, and label it with the name of the forum/site that I'm registering for. Email is forwarded to my real acct. If I start getting spam from a certain address, I delete it and forgo using that site.

    • Tina
      November 8, 2009 at 5:18 am


      the contact form was suggested in #5.

      Thank you for sharing Sneakemail. Here's the URL for anyone who would like to try:

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