If you've had it with spam, consider using a program that authenticates users. But keep in mind that most of these services charge a fee. These programs use a verification system to check any sender who hasn't been approved. Here's how this usually works:
- The program scans your contact list and automatically allows everyone listed there to contact you.
- When you receive an email from someone who isn't in your contact list, the program holds the email in limbo until two things happen. First, the service sends an email to the sender and asks that person to verify that he's a real person by answering a challenge response (entering text that he sees onscreen). Second, only when the sender has successfully responded to the challenge is the email delivered to your inbox. Because spam email is sent by automated malicious programs, there's no human to respond to the challenge. Consequently, an automated sender's email doesn't get through. Any email that doesn't pass this test doesn't land in your inbox.
- People not on your list have to answer the challenge only once for each email account they use to be validated for all future emails.
- Any email from those who aren't verified is stored in a special folder for a week. This gives you the chance to review the messages in case you want to accept any of them.