Spam sucks. There isn’t a plainer way to say it. You didn’t sign up to receive those emails. You didn’t enter a contest using your email address. You didn’t email the sender first. How exactly did your email address find its way onto the mailing lists of all these spammers? Becoming the victim of spam is a lot easier than you may think.
Where does evidence of your email address exist? Is it on your website? Is it listed on your social media accounts? According to Heinz Tschabitscher on Lifewire.com, spammers utilize robots that scan web pages and follow links to locate email addresses they can begin inundating with unsolicited advertisements.
“This is why you should disguise your email address when you use it on the net or, better yet, use disposable email addresses,” he warns, “If you post your address on your own web page or blog, you can encode it so visitors who want to send you an email can see and use it, but spambots cannot. Again, using a disposable address provides a very effective and at the same time convenient alternative.”
There are a lot of people out there compiling long lists of email addresses for the purpose of making a profit. Spammers have help. People who sell email addresses to spammers don’t come in short supply. On HowToGeek.com, Chris Hoffman describes a black market that exists in the world of online marketing.
“Unscrupulous people will sell lists of email addresses to spammers for a low price,” he informs, “These email addresses were often distributed on CDs in the past, and they may still be, but leaked account databases have probably taken some steam out of this marketplace. Spammers may also just trade their lists of email addresses with other spammers, ensuring more spammers will get their hands on your email address once one does.”
If you have a simplistic email address, such as your first and last name followed by a domain name, it’s likely you’ve encountered a fair bit of spam in your life. According to Tschabitscher, this is especially true for users of free email providers such as Hotmail and Yahoo! In fact, he refers to such providers as a “spammer’s paradise”.
“Millions of users share one common domain name, so you already know that (‘hotmail.com’ in the case of Hotmail),” writes Tschabitscher, “ Try to sign up for a new account and you will discover that guessing an existing username is not difficult either. Most short and good names are taken…To beat this kind of spammer attack use long and difficult addresses.”
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