Spam has been an internet buzzword and has been part of our email correspondence since the nineties. When you sign-in to your email account to check for messages, you can’t help but notice the Spam folder which usually has over 200 to 300 messages. You actually wonder what these mails are and where they come from.
But what exactly does Spam mean?
Spam mail is also referred to as junk mail. It is an unsolicited and unrequested message which contains advertisements, and is usually sent electronically as bulk messages to millions of users at the same time.
Spam mails have become a serious bother to many. They are annoying, mostly irrelevant, and fill up inboxes, thereby taking up huge amount of space on the user’s account. Apart from the fact that it is time consuming to go through spam messages to look for the relevant messages that may have ended up in your spam folder because one can hardly differentiate wanted contents from unwanted contents, some are also very dangerous when you click on them.
But, a good question will be how do spam mails come about and get to your inbox?
Spam messages are sent electronically to numerous recipients and majority of them are chain mails or unsolicited commercial e-mails that advertise or ask to purchase a certain product, click on a link, provide personal information or open an attached file. The sender of this spam message is identified as a spammer. They use computer programs called harvesting bots or spambots. These programs are used to search the internet for email addresses which they save for sending future junk mails.
Spammers use various ways to build up email lists and your email address can end up in the hands of these hackers by various means. One of such ways is when they hack email accounts of a friend and acquaintance, there is a high chance that your email address may fall into the hands of spammers as your email address will most likely be in your friend’s address book. Often times, carelessness on the part of the user can also lead to their information getting into the hands of spammers. Most of these website operators have terms and conditions that allow them collect email addresses and use them for promotional purposes. So they set up giveaways on their site mainly for collecting addresses for future spam. When users fill in their email address on websites, social networks, chats, forums, and comments, you become an easy target for spammers.
Another common method include buying list of email addresses where spammers can purchase a list of email addresses legally or illegally.
However, you can know who sold out your information by following this simple tips:
- Before signing-up for any item or product online, know the name of the company or person you are signing-up with.
- Include the website’s name or name of the company as your middle name. You don’t have to include the dot.com. For example, you are signing up on “abc.com” website, you include “abc” as your middle name.
- So when a communication email is being sent to you, your name, middle name and surname will be included as your name in the email.
You should note that, while this method allows you know which website the spam email came from, it does not actually solve the problems of spam mails. Although, there are various products and companies offering security solutions that help protect yourself and your system from scammers.