Why People Get Spammed
Ten Reasons why People Receive Spam Messages

Spam (unsolicited commercial/bulk email) is a growing bain and an inherent problem of internet usage! Marketing techniques for the gathering and the dissemination of email addresses has become a science in its own right and clearly provides sufficient financial gains for those perperating these messages.

So, detailed below are ten common reasons why people receive spam, together with a few practical tips to help avoid getting further spam.

  1. When they receive an email with a little image attachment they click on the image to see the pretty picture not realising this is really a WEB BUG, designed to confirm the existence of their IP and email addresses.
  2. They reply to special offers - seriously, resist that urge; DON’T REPLY!
  3. They click on some pop-up advertising, enter their email address and click the tick box that says that the company won't sell their data on as it is part of the Data Protection Act - DON’T REPLY to these.
  4. They’ve upset someone who has just given out their email address to everyone they know.
  5. They’ve tried to unsubscribe from an unsolicited newsletter which has in reality told the spammer that their email account exists and is valid. DON’T UNSUBSCRIBE from anything you never subscribed to in the first place!
  6. They’ve applied for some free gift on the web. There's NO such thing as a free lunch!.
  7. They get them from people’s web pages automatically either through web spidering or harvesting. This is why some people write their address as NAME(at)webaddress(dot)com to try to prevent these automatic spidering and harvesting techniques.
  8. Spammers get email addresses when someone gives out their email address in a chat room.
  9. Has anyone ever sent you joke mail? Can you see all the other addresses on that list? If you can, then so can all the other people on that list who you don’t know, who could actually sell the list to a spammer (or could even be a spammer themselves)! Remove yourself from all joke email lists, even if they are from your best friend!
  10. You know those really useful "I’ll be back on ..." out of the office messages. Well if someone is spamming on a whim and gets an out of office reply, well you guessed it, they now have a valid email address that they can sell on to other spammers!
Useful Resources

The following web-sites offer useful tips and utilities for tracing and reporting spam operations and plenty of further reading material too:

  • mail-abuse.com This is a great site that maintains various lists of known spammer IP addresses. These lists can be used by standard junk mail filters to block unsolicited mail from Spammers. Unfortunately they seem to get more junk email than any person in the world because people keep forwarding their junk mail to them in the hopes that they will add the spammers IP address to their list. Chances are they’ve already got it, the poor dears! Please read their rules on how to nominate a spammer before actually emailing them .
  • idunno.org/spam This site actually shows you their blacklist (blocked spammer IP addresseses).
  • spam.abuse.net/userhelp/ Great web-site full of useful information that has been built up over the last decade; includes, how to report spam, how to trace spams (if you have the time), information about spam blocking and filtering and preventing web blog spam.
  • spamlinks.net A comprehensive portal to everything Spam.
  • http://www.monkeys.com/wpoison/ A free tool, Wpoison helps to combat the junk e-mail problem by thwarting efforts of junk e-mailers who send junk e-mail to all of the e-mail addresses that they harvest from various web sites.
  • http://www.faqs.org/faqs/net-abuse-faq/harvest FAQ: How do spammers get people's email addresses?
  • http://digital.net/~gandalf/spamfaq.html The spam FAQ, maintained by Ken Hollis.
  • http://spamcop.net Julian Haight's Spam Cop page.
  • http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/conline/pubs/alerts/doznalrt.htm FTC Consumer Alert - FTC Names Its Dirty Dozen: 12 Scams Most Likely to Arrive Via Bulk email.
  • http://www.euro.cauce.org/en/index.html The European Coalition Against Usolicited Commerical E-mail.