If you’re a member of the current millennia, you’ve probably heard the word & had more than your fair share of junk email in your inbox. For those of us that use email (which is most of us these days), the experience of spam and junk email is all too familiar and annoying.
Let’s talk about what SPAM is, and where it comes from; hopefully the reader can gain some insight into how to avoid spam and stop spammers.
SPAM: meat-like substance
or menace to society?
If you’ve ever gotten emails pushing the sale of prescription drugs or pornography, prompting you to refinance your mortgage, or expounding the wonders of the latest get rich quick work from home business, you’ve most likely been spammed.
Sparing the tedium of a formal definition, SPAM emails often have no “opt out” links (any newsletter you get is supposed to have these in case you decide you no longer want the emails-this is part of the CAN-SPAM Act’s rules). The ones that do are phony, and you will most likely continue to receive spam emails or receive even more as clicking the link verifies that the email address in question (yours) is real and is being used.
These types of emails are not permission based and usually appear out of nowhere.
Legitimate emails from businesses usually have useful information and/or coupons/specials, and are sent out on a regular basis, but not so often as to become annoying. One can easily opt out without worry of repeated offense.
Now For the Good Stuff: How To Avoid Spam Email (or how the heck do spammers get your email address?)
There are actually a few ways this is done. One popular method is by way of the spider (search engines use these for legitimate purposes also). These are just programs that “crawl” the Web or the Internet looking for email addresses posted on websites, such as [email protected]
Think twice before you post your email address on blogs, personal sites, online directories, and other websites where it can be easily picked up by spammers.
If you must post your email, try something like this: emailATmyaddressDOTTCOMM; this makes it harder for automated programs to detect email addresses, thus resulting in less junk email for you.
Get creative–the ironic thing about computers is that though they can help solve very complex problems, they can also become completely dumb-founded by things most 10 year-olds can easily figure out.
Ever sign up for an online subscription or buy something online? How about those enticing freebies such as eBooks and webinars (shameless self promotion: you should definitely take any free stuff we happen to be offering — we are not spammers!)?
When you buy something online most of the time you will have to enter an email address to check out. Some sites allow you to check out without registering, while others that make you register keep your email address to themselves and do not share it.
Special programs can be used to automatically create millions of possible email addresses. Many use names of popular Internet service providers (ISPs) and well known companies (i.e. [email protected]) to create them. Yet another way spam email finds its way to you.
Why People Who Send Spam Email Often Don’t Get Caught or Shut Down
We’ve already discussed malware. Some malicious programs are designed to silently take over an ordinary computer, server, or website and turn it into a spam bot which can send out thousands upon thousands of emails in a relatively short time. This makes catching the spammer harder, because your computer or server takes the blame, not the spammer’s.
If your computer seems to be running slow for all the sudden or for no apparent reason, you could be sending spam email and not even know it!
Keep your security software up to date. Install operating system and productivity software patches and updates. If you suspect you have an infection our website can help you.
Spammers often spoof their IP addresses and/or strip their emails’ headers’ sender info. They can also make the email look legit to avoid detection by spam filters. Some use funny characters or misspelled words to help get their junk email into your inbox.
All the info on spam email could fill volumes, but the basic prevention techniques offered here will be a big help if used with regularity.
And yes, sometimes you can judge a book by its cover: many websites that deal in pornography, get rich quick schemes, and gambling have questionable ethics to begin with; why would they have any qualms about spamming people to make an extra buck?