Setting an auto-response to change email address: will this alert spammers?

That’s maybe not the best thread title, but I was having trouble coming up with something pithy enough to fit into the title box that was still descriptive of my issue. Anyway.

The email address I’ve been using for the last four years or so has become completely inundated with spam. SpamAssassin picks up a lot of it, and my custom spam filters pick up a lot more, but it’s getting to the point where if I don’t clear out my “spam” folder every few days, my mail quota (10 megs) fills up. I can’t take it anymore. Not to mention that the mail the filters don’t pick up is enough to overwhelm my inbox all by itself. As an example, this morning I logged into my account for the first time in, oh, 12 hours or so, and the filters picked up 126 pieces of spam, leaving about 35 more sitting in my inbox.

I just got a new email account through the company providing our DSL service. I’d like to start using it instead of the old one, but for obvious reasons I’m being very careful about who gets the address. I already sent individual emails to most of my friends and family alerting them of the change. But there are a lot of people out there that I don’t talk to often enough to warrant a special “change of address” email, but that might email me not knowing about the change. I’m thinking of putting an auto-responder on my email account to the effect of, “I don’t use this address anymore due to spam. The new address is blah@blah.com” or whatever. But will spammers pick up the new address out of the autoresponse email? What if I disguise it by saying “my address is blah at blah dot com” or something to that effect?

Maybe I should just jettison the whole thing and not do an autoresponse at all. Anyone have ideas?

It might, but if you format the new address in a nonstandard manner, for instance “blahblah at emailaddress dot com” instead of “blahblah@emailaddress.com”, it will be significantly harder for them to harvest it.

I think most won’t, since they use spamming software and other tools that a) use bulk mailing lists and b) usually forge the reply address.

This sounds like an excellent idea.


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YES! Do it now.

I did it 6 months ago and have 0 (zero) spam since then, so none of the literally thousands of spammers who flooded my old mailbox ever checked checked. And I didn’t do the spell-it-out either, although that does sound reasonable, just for peace of mind.

Note: You will quickly think of lots of people who have your email that you DO want to hear from who WON’T read a vacation response.
Like on-line billing notifications, like the library late notifications, like websites you are connected to but seldom hear from, like SDMB and Amazon.com and PayPal. And any job hunt or auction sites.

All of those need to be told directly, as they don’t reply mail at all.

Speaking of jobhunt and auctions sites, be sure to read their privacy policy, which may be “we sell your name to all takers.”
If you want to deal with those sites anyway, have your ISP give you a separate account just for them, or get a free mail address for them.

Thanks for this thread. I’m actually considering the same thing, since I’ve had my major account for 4 years and it just gets deluged with spam. Like 124 messages in the 8 or so hours I’m asleep and then 300 throughout the day kinda deluged.

The worst part is, the Mozilla filter catches most of it, but if I’m expecting email from someone who doesn’t mail me a lot (like for a job or something), I have to look through it all anyway.

So I’m considering the same thing. All this is good to know.