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.