Woke up this morning and found hundreds of unread mails in your inbox? You curse the person who sent you those emails and miserably begin reading each one. But hold your horses! Do you know how many out of those are Spam Emails? It’s a common misconception that emails in your ‘Inbox’ folder cannot be spam; however spammers these days are extremely smart. Read on to know what Spam is and how you can safeguard yourself.
Firstly, what is Spam?
Everyone knows that Email Spam is Junk Email you receive from unknown senders. Clicking on links within the email might direct you to a phishing website or sites that host malware. Spam email may also include malware as scripts or other executable file attachments.
Email Spam Defined
By definition, email spam is any email that meets the following three criteria:
- Anonymity: The address and identity of the sender are concealed
- Mass Mailing: The email is sent to large groups of people
- Unsolicited: The email is not requested by the recipients
In short, spam email is any email which was sent to a user and many others with malicious intent. The source and identity of the sender is anonymous and there is no option to cease receiving future emails.
But why would anyone send me SPAM?!
Haven’t we all asked ourselves this question at some point of time? Spammers don’t really love you. The truth of the matter is that spam email is a simple Math game. The more spam emails a spammer sends, the more likely he or she is to get recipients to respond to the email. If a spam email sender has a list of five million email addresses, only a small fraction of those need to reply to the spam message in order for it to result in significant financial turnover for the spammer.
How does MONEY come into the picture here?
If a person’s sending you Spam, there’s always some gain involved for him. No one would want to waste their time sending zillions of junk to random people. On most occasions, your spammer has committed to a firm that he’ll provide them with your email address so that they can send you their newsletters, etc. Once your email address gets verified, the concerned firm pay the spammer for the mails he sent out.
So now how do I save myself from being Spammed?
The best way to avoid spam is not getting on spammers’ lists in the first place. But obviously, not everyone is that fortunate. Don’t fret; there are a couple of things you can do in order to prevent your email inbox from spam.
1. Try Disposable Email Addresses
Using your real, primary email address anywhere on the web puts it at risk of being picked up by spammers. A disposable email address will forward all mail to your real address. But won’t that also send you spam? Not really. If you dispose of the email address, you won’t receive any spam
2. Every Checkbox isn’t meant to be Ticked!
When you sign up for something on the Web, there is often some innocent-looking text at the end of the form saying something like: “YES, I want to be contacted by select third parties concerning products I might be interested in.” Quite often, the checkbox next to that text is already checked and your email address will be given to you don’t know who.
To avoid that,
- Look closely at every form you fill on the Web and
- Make sure all relevant checkboxes are not ticked.
Sometimes, the text will read: “NO, don’t give away my email address,” and the checkbox will consequently be unchecked by default. Check it.
3. Disguise your Email Address
Sounds silly, but it sure does work! To avoid ending on a spammer’s mailing list when you post to a web forum or a newsgroup, you can disguise your email address by inserting something obvious into it.
If your email address is firstname.lastname@example.org, you can modify it to read me@EXAdelete_thisMPLE.com, for example. You will not get spam at that email address since all messages to it will bounce, but people who want to send you an email can still do so after they remove “delete_this” from the address.
Obscuring your email address does make sending mail a bit more difficult. But this is not always a disadvantage.
4. Domain Owners: Set up Throwaway Addresses to Fight Spam
If you own a domain, you have a great anti-spam tool at hand: your mail server. You simply need to enable the “Catch-All” feature in your email which when activated allows you to catch all of the emails sent to your domain, whether the ID exists or not.
You can use this feature to create throwaway email addresses on the fly:
- If you need to give an email address to sign up for something, make one up.
For example, if you sign up for a newsletter at About, enter “email@example.com” as your email address.
5. Enable Privacy Protect
You can also enable the ‘Privacy Protect‘ option for your Domain Name, your Domain provider replaces your Contact Details in the Whois information with it’s generic contact details, thus, masking your personal contact details. Host Byte provides this service free of charge and is enabled by default for most domain extensions. You can learn more about this here.
Remember – Receiving spam is very easy and getting rid of it is equally difficult!
Just for the record, Host Byte doesn’t contribute to any of the spam in your inbox and we provide all our users with a default Anti-Spam filter which checks all your incoming and outgoing emails. Your incoming emails are filtered using ‘PostScreen’ and the outgoing ones are filtered using ‘Commtouch’.
“Like almost everyone who uses e-mail, I receive a ton of spam every day. Much of it offers to help me get out of debt or get rich quick. It would be funny if it weren’t so exciting.”
Bill Gates finds spam rather exciting, do you?