Spam Defined – We’ve all had our experience with email messages claiming a deceased heir has money stashed away for us in a foreign bank and that it’ll take some money to get to it or the type of emails trying to sell a miraculous weight-loss product. They are unsolicited messages, more often than not, an annoyance and horribly targeted. When these messages fill up your inbox it leaves people looking for solutions to get rid of it.
How Spammers Find Your Email Address
The method most used by spammers to collect email addresses is to scrape webpages for them. Spammers use automated scripts, bots and software to scan across the internet collecting emails that users have put up on forums, profiles and various other webpages. Then there are the websites that ask you to sign up for something using an email through an opt-in list. While it’s not legally spam when sign your email up for a shady website the junk aspect of the emails you receive are still spammy. In the past there have even been viruses that collected email addresses from your computer. You’d receive a file by email disguising itself as something legitimate and when opened it would grab the emails and send them out to the spammer. Lastly, spammers have been known to also use keyloggers on public computers to grab email addresses and even sensitive data that could be used to target-spam you. Then they, more likely than not, will sell the email addresses they’ve harvested or use them for their own money-making reasons.
Avoiding Spam Emails
There are a few methods to getting rid of spam, or avoiding it all together, but it’s not foolproof. The first way is to, of course, not post your email addresses on websites.
But you can also make your email readable to people but not by the spiders that look for your emails. An old trick i, myself, started using back in the late 1999. It’s the trick we all know as writing out your email. Example: myemailaddress at emailhost dot com
One thing you should never do though is to respond to a spammer’s message or try to opt-out of the message since it’ll most likely only verify to the spammer that your email is active and worth spamming even more. Most web-based email sites, such as Yahoo Mail and Google Mail, come with excellent spam detection and reporting tools. As for email clients, like Outlook or Thunderbird, there are several addons available to stop spam. The most important thing about email clients on your computer is to never open .exe attachments without having your virus scanner actively running in the background in case the file you receive is a malicious one.
These tips will help you avoid getting spammed but the most important method of avoiding spam, or any other computer-based annoyance, is to be smart about things. If something seems suspicious then it probably is.