Most of us get SPAM emails every day. Some of us get more than others. Even a newly created email account will begin receiving spam just after a few days after its creation. We often wonder where spam comes from and why? I will try my best to provide all possible information about spam and also tell you how to combat it.
What is SPAM?
Spam is the abuse of electronic messaging systems (including most broadcast media, digital delivery systems) to send unsolicited bulk messages indiscriminately. The most widely recognized form of spam is email spam.
Where do these SPAM come from?
Spam comes only from spammers and never from a legitimate user or a company. Spammers send a single email to hundreds (some times thousands or millions) of email addresses at a time. They either send it manually or use spambots to automate the process.
Why do spammers SPAM?
The main goal of spammers is to send the spam (unsolicited bulk messages) to as many people as possible in order to make profit. For example, John builds a small website to sell an ebook which gives information about weight loss. In order to make sales he needs to garner publicity for his website. Instead of spending money on advertising, John decides to create an email which contains information about his site along with its link and send this email to 100 email addresses in his contact list. If 1 person out 100 buys this book, John gets $10. What if he sends this email to thousands of people? He gets $100. Imagine, if he sends this email to one million email addresses, he gets $100,000.
Now I hope you understood the idea behind spamming. So in order to make money, spammers send their advertising emails to as many people as possible without respecting the recipient’s privacy.
From where do SPAMmers get my email address?
Many websites on the internet exist to collect the email IDs of people and sell them to spammers in bulk. Usually, this happens when people sign up for monthly newsletters or take surveys. This is when these scam sites get email addresses. Many spammers also collect email addresses by using spambots. Such spambots are web crawlers that can gather email addresses from websites, newsgroups, forums, special-interest group (SIG) postings, and chat-room conversations.
Spammers also use the trick of creating a Hoax Email to gather a huge list of email IDs. For example, a spammer sends a hoax email which says “Forward this Message to Help Severely Burned Child.” This email claims that 11 cents will be donated to the child’s family every time the message is sent to others. Manypeople believe this and start forwarding the hoax email to all of the IDs in their contact list. In this way the email spreads rapidly and eventually when it reaches the creator (spammer), the spammer gets a huge list of valid email addresses in the email header. This is one of the effective methods used by spammers to gather email addresses.
Is SPAMming legal?
Spamming is completely illegal, but it is extremely difficult to stop spammers from spamming since they keep moving from one hosting company to another after getting banned. This makes it practically impossible to catch spammers and prosecute them.
How to protect my email account from getting SPAMmed?
The following methods can be used to combat email spam.
1. Use spam filters for your email account. If you’re using email services like Gmail, Yahoo, or Hotmail then spam filters are used by default. Each spam filter has an algorithm to detect spam emails and will automatically move them to the SPAM folder. This keeps your inbox free from spam, however some emails will always successfully bypass the filters and make their way into your inbox.
2. Do not post your email address in public forums, user comments, or chat-rooms. Give your email address only to trustworthy websites while signing up for newsletters.
3. While taking online surveys and filling out feedback forms, it is better not to give your personal email address. Instead, signup for a dummy email account and use this for surveys and feedback forms.
4. While posting your contact email address on your website use this format:emailaddress [at] yoursite.com instead of firstname.lastname@example.org. This protects your email address from being indexed by spambots.
5. Do not respond to hoax messages. When you receive a hoax email, avoid forwarding it to your friends. Examples of hoax messages can be found at www.hoax-slayer.com. If you really want to forward it to your friends, make sure that you use the “Bcc” (blind certified copy) option to send the email. This will hide all the email IDs to which the mail is forwarded to.
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CREDIT Goes to Srikanth(Original Poster)