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Why Do We Get Spam? And How Do Spammers Know My Email Address?

Spam or junk mail is something that nobody likes. It’s annoying, it clogs up your mail box and often, it’s a scam. So why do we get spam? Simply enough it’s because somebody gets a hold of your email address and sends through their spam.

The way these spammers can get your email address ranges. From leaked account databases, where big companies have a small breach in security and their customers emails get leaked, to automated scripts/robots checking popular websites for emails posted as comments. It doesn’t matter if the email is real or not since it’s spam!

While it’s impossible to completely prevent spam getting to you (except for getting rid of your email forever!) it is possible to minimise the amount of spam you get!

How To Minimise Spam

Tip 1: Mark Spam As Spam

Almost every popular email client such as Gmail, Apple Mail and Yahoo Mail have a ‘Report Spam’ or ‘Report Junk’ button for emails! Make sure to use it!

This is because your email client will then ‘learn’ what is and isn’t spam email and automatically filter it out for you.If the spammers can use automated processes, so can you!

Make sure to check your spam/junk folder every now and then to make sure real emails haven’t been marked as spam!If they have, you can do the same thing but instead of ‘Report Spam’, click on the button ‘Not Spam’. This lets your email client learn the difference!

 

Tip 2: Don’t Let Them Know Your Email Is Active

Often spam is sent in giant batches by an automatic process. A thousand emails are sent at once to a thousand different email addresses. But this doesn’t happen instantly! It takes time to send all those emails. So often to speed this process up, spammers will cut out email addresses that don’t click/open their spam, as it may be an “inactive” email.

If you get an obvious spam email (such as in a different language or for a service you didn’t sign up for) then mark it as spam! This will make the spammers think your email isn’t a good target and not send you as much spam.

If you’re not sure and want to check by opening the email, this is okay. Just be careful not to click any links as this tells the spammer that your email is active and they’ll send you more spam.

More importantly, if you did not sign up to their email (Eg. XYZ Retailer), or you know it’s a scammer, do not click on the “unsubscribe” button. By clicking “unsubscribe”, you are telling these spammers that your email address is active, and this will increase the amount of spam emails sent to you.

Tip 3: Be Careful Where You Type Your Email Address

Try to reduce the likelihood that spammers will get your email address by taking some precautions.

“Robots” (scripts created to scrape websites for addresses) can quickly gather thousands of emails at a time from websites where the email addresses are made public. Avoid entering your email address to sign up for things like coupons, and never type out your email address in a comment or post online.

  • Great tips. If in doubt chuck it out.

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  • Thanks for the tips, I try not to open them but sometimes you miss real emails.

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  • Wow great tips thank you

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  • If it looks vaguely like spam then delete. Its just a fact that horrible people are out there to hurt the vulnerable. It’s like the phonecalls that plague us all waiting to take advantage of someone. They are parasites trying to crawl into our world and destroy it.


    • The phone calls! I am very brisk with them! Then block!

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  • Spam is just a part of being online…..delete!

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  • I had never thought that scammers would use the “unsubscribe” as an indication that the account was live. I’ve been careful in the past to “unsubscribe” thinking it was the way to stop it..


    • Yep I also do this as well …this story has opened my eyes.

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  • I get so much spam but luckily my spam folder collects most of it.

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  • Sometimes entering forms automatically ticks you are happy to share your email. Make sure you read any ticked boxes and untick any you don’t want.

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  • Another way to get spam emails is by entering competitions. They often share our details with their list of contacts without our permission

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  • I absolutely hate looking at my emails, it’s so frustrating to see so many emails in there.

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  • Like the first mum that commented, I have one “private” email that doesn’t get any spam, and a “public” one where I need to regularly check the overflowing junk-folder.

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  • I get so many annoying e-mail’s,l delete them!

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  • I have 2 email addresses. One for serious stuff that gets almost no spam, and one for all the crap like competitions and coupons and stuff and that gets about 50 spam emails a day.

    Reply

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