Many of us are bombarded with hundreds, if not thousands of junk emails or spam everyday. Anyone with an email account can be at risk of getting them as spammers are now more ingenious with spamming than ever before. Spam are especially annoying when delivered in huge bulk, so that most of your time is wasted just by deleting them.
But how do you get spam anyways? Where do they come from? Spammers maintain a huge database that lists millions of email addresses that they sell to other companies. They usually source them from the following:
Spammers use spambots or programs that scour the internet to search for any texts with the @ symbol that most likely indicate an email address. These spambots will then harvest all these email addresses posted publicly on websites.
2. Chat rooms or newsgroups
Some people, especially new users of chat or newsgroup sites may unknowingly leave their real email addresses when posting something. Spammers use a software that easily retrieves their screen name and email addresses.
3. Misleading subscribe or unsubscribe online services
Some users may fall for sites created by spammers that says something like, “Win a trip to Fantasy Island. Just enter your email address here!” Many huge websites in the past sold their subscribers’ email addresses for a commission. The way they do this is by creating an opt-in email list where they ask their users if they want to subscribe to newsletters from their partners – which tends to result in the users getting spam. A common technique employed by spammers is blasting random users with email containing an unsubscribe link. The link, which when clicked, will actually confirm their email address as valid and the email user will end up getting even more spam.
4. Dictionary-search programs
Another main source of email addresses is through dictionary search programs that target popular email service providers like Hotmail and AOL. This program will come up with hundreds of alphanumeric combinations of email addresses per hour. Though most of the results are invalid, some may also work, and the way spammers validate these email address is through methods such as the one covered above.
How to stop or lessen the number of spam emails? The bad news is that the prevalence of spams is here to stay and have no signs of dying out but the good news is there are effective ways for you not to fall victim to them.
1. Do not post your email address on your website.
2. Create an alias or disposable email address.
Never use your real email address when signing up or posting messages in opt-in forms, newsgroups, blogs, chat and public forums. Some email providers can set you up for a free alias or disposable email address which you can disable anytime if you are flooded with too many spams.
3. Filter them.
Email providers like Gmail already have built-in email filtering programs within their servers that filter spam before they even reach your inbox. You can set up filters that automatically block or delete spam. Aside from preventing spams, filters are also effective in sorting out important emails like billing statements and other personal emails.
4. Ignore them.
It can sometimes be tempting to reply or click on the links in spam messages but the best way is to NEVER do anything at all. Some crafty spammers may include an ‘unsubscribe’ link at the bottom of the message to opt-out but this can actually confirm that the email is active and create a potential gold mine for more spams.
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