5 Things That Will Get You Spammed

We are required to give up our email address to view content or to post a comment at so many sites so that they can put us in their email distribution list. Once they have our address they can use it to try and sell us things in the future. Legitimate companies will not sell your email to third parties, continue to email you when you have asked them to stop and honor that check box that reads, “I do not wish to receive emails…”

Over time, we have become so used to coughing up our email address and posting it online that we forget, not everyone who captures our email address is going to use it in a legal and ethical way. To prevent these types from being able to use our email to send you spam, make a note of the following mistakes so that you can avoid making them.

1. Giving out your email address on social networks

Using social networks are not only a fun way to keep in touch with others, but it can be a great way to get your work done as well. By offering real time communication, file sharing and collaboration social networks have become a tool used by many in the workplace.

However one of the biggest mistakes people make when it comes to social networks is sharing their email address on them. Like any other site, data can be mined from the various social networks – and that includes your email address. If it is posted on there, even if it is “private”, it can be captured and added to a spammer’s mailing list with ease.

2. Listing your email address on your personal or company website

Just like social networks, spammers scour the Internet for those unfortunate souls who list their email address on a public facing website. With inexpensive software a spammer can collect thousands of email addresses to use in their next campaign with very little effort.

Obviously you will want to keep your email address off any personal websites you might have. Instead of using a link or even the email in content opt for a contact form instead. At work, discuss the company policy for how emails are listed and make sure that your supervisor is aware of the problems associated with this.

3. Replying to spam emails

The CAN-SPAM Act requires that legitimate email marketers include an unsubscribe link on all emails they send to you. Most of them will take you off the list if you request it.

Spammers, on the other hand, will use this to identify email addresses that are real and not ones set up for registration purposes only. If you did not sign up to receive emails then don’t click on any links. Simply throw the emails away when they make it past the spam filter.

4. Using your good email address to register online

In addition to your work email address and your personal email address you should keep one that you use when you are asked to register for something online. This helps keep the junk mailing down to a minimum in your good email inboxes and it prevents these addresses from being sold off by less than ethical people who have collected your address.

Once this email address starts getting spammed too much, you can forget it and register a new one to use.

5. Not being an educated user

Whenever there is a new version of a software package many of us jump at the opportunity to educate ourselves on how to use it. Unfortunately, many of us do not show the same enthusiasm when it comes to keeping current on trends that involve spamming, phishing or other security issues.

By making sure that we read up on the different tactics and trends that are related to email security topics we can better protect ourselves, and our employers, as well will be able to better identify the different attacks that come through our email and help to keep our email addresses from falling into the hands of the bad guys.

Written by Jeff


  1. Eve Leigh · November 30, 2012

    I hate it most when I have to submit an email address that I frequently check and then I get spammed. In several cases when I applied for online jobs, I not only didn’t get the job but I was spammed with all offers one could imagine. In one case I kindly asked them to remove me from their list but they didn’t bother to do it. Only after I threatened to sue, I stopped getting more emails from them. I couldn’t submit a bogus email address at these sites because I had to be reached for an interview, for example.

  2. Margaux · December 1, 2012

    I have to agree with the first one. Perhaps before, like a few years ago, it’s okay to be public about your e-mail, simply because spammers hadn’t figured out how social networks worked yet. But times are definitely a-changing, they say. They’ve become smarter and more aggressive, and have learned to tap on other resources for spamming such as social networks. Remember, they’ve learned to use the Mail a Friend feature so spamming will go viral! That’s why I never allow anyone to see my e-mail address and even phone number in my profile. I’ve also restricted my profile to some of my closest friends and family.

  3. Matthew Connell · December 2, 2012

    You are right with the last one. As they say, ignorance of the law excuses no one. I know there are no definite rules when it comes to e-mail publishing, but you can use the different etiquette guidelines for help. Besides, there are already a lot of websites, blogs, and message boards, among others, that offer several tips on how to stay safe online. There’s really no excuse why you can’t keep your personal information secure when you’re surfing the web. Needless to say, scammers are getting smarter, so we also need to pay attention to their latest tactics.

  4. Daniella · December 3, 2012

    The second point is unavoidable. Some companies can resort to business name (space) @ (space) domain, but it’s not something potential clients would like. They want an e-mail address they can easily copy and paste in their To field. The best step is to simply be vigilant and to declare any suspicious e-mail as spam. That’s the only viable solution I have in my mind right now. Otherwise, they attach a fill-up form for those who like to e-mail them then activate CAPTCHA to deter potential spammers. This method is already proven quite effective (heck, I can hardly copy some of them).

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