Oh, email spam - everybody receives it and there is a lot of it. Usually, spam’s purpose is to sell you some type of medicine or let you know you’ve “won” something. Though spam may seem mildly annoying, it can actually be quite sinister. Simply opening a spam email can cause harm to your computer, your finances, and sometimes your ability to interact on the Internet.
This is why we recommend you do an email spam checkup.
Let’s go over the 4 major ways your email gets on a spam list as well as some solutions:
- Spammers buy your email address. Spammers will buy lists of email addresses either legally or illegally in order to add them to their lists.
Solution: Use a throwaway email address when signing up for random websites or newsletters. Use your main email only with companies and people you trust completely.
- This involves the use of a program that scours the Internet in search of the @ symbols and copying what comes after it.
Solution: Obfuscation. Buy altering your email address when you post it somewhere, you’ll confuse the scouring program. For example, if an email address is Joe@EXAMPLE.com, you can alter it for your intended audience by changing it to Joe@ EXAdelete_thisMPLE.com. Your human reader will know what to do – the scouring program won't.
- Brute force. These programs generate massive amounts of random alphabetic/numeral combinations designed to guess emails. Granted, not all results will be legit, but there will be some that work.
Solution: Unfortunately there is not much you can do about this. If a robot guesses your email, then they guessed it. You may have to change your email address.
- Some spammers will send false emails that say, “You have signed up for *insert newsletter*. Click to Unsubscribe.”
Solution: Delete these emails – do not open them. Plain and simple, if you see an email like this, just delete it. You can also block the domain or mark it as spam so any email from that domain will be sent to the spam box.
Performing these steps will help ensure that information about you that is stored online remains safe. After a quick Google search, you may find companies offering a paid “Remove me from spam lists.” DO NOT DO THIS. These are almost always scams and are used to either gather more emails or confirm that emails are active.
Prevention and reporting is the best approach. Follow the guidelines above to make sure your email is safe. Also, report spam to your ISP. They can prevent the domain from sending emails after a certain amount of complaints is reached.
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