Ever looked at the spam folder in your mailbox and wondered where these come from? It might come-off as shocking for some, but 95% of all emails sent and received comprises of spam. Most spam email of ‘junk’ mails containing advertised links, aimed at selling a certain product or service to a user. These mails might be from a known or unknown source and could be totally unrelated to you. This certainly raises the question as to where these spammers get your email id from?
How Spammers Target Users
There are plenty of ways how spammers could get hold of your email address. The internet is filled with websites that require the users to provide personal information. Spam generators use special software that can extract non-sensitive user info such as email addresses from such websites. Most spammers are simply marketing companies or personnel, who’re trying to advertise their client or organization. And since emails are the cheapest way to advertise, such junk mails run amok on the internet.
What is the Harm?
Spam emails are usually full of advertisements that try to lure users into making a purchase. But more often than not, there are emails that could contain infected attachments with viruses, malware and Trojans. Once these program access your computer, they could damage your data in a number of ways and have led to tremendous financial losses in the past. Therefore, it is vital that users must be extremely careful whenever dealing with emails categorized as spam.
How Email Service Providers Decide If Email Is Spam or Not?
Let’s understand how spam email is identified by email service providers. Most popular email service providers such as yahoo, Hotmail and Gmail have their own criteria to identify a particular mail as junk/spam.
- They start by checking the sender’s address and recipient responses to the mails sent.
- If too many emails were sent from a particular address, they would then check how many users opened or replied.
- If the sender’s emails were blocked or ignored by several users, there are chances that the service providers will consider that address as spam.
How You Can Identify Spam Email?
Sometimes, looking inside the spam folder isn’t enough to identify if the mail is junk or not. Listed below are some telltale signs if a particular email is spam.
- Check Email Address – If an email is sent through a legitimate channel or an organization, it would always bear a legitimate address. E.g. Support@amazon.com. If the email address contains any suspicious numbers or a generic @Gmail/Hotmail/yahoo.com, there a high chance it’s spam.
- Check Content – Phishing companies and hackers don’t care much about the contents of spam mails other than its infectious attachments. You can often find that such malicious emails aren’t very well written and will contain tons of unusual spelling and grammatical errors.
- Check if It Asks for Personal Information – Most emails that you willingly subscribe to never ask for your personal information, especially when you’re already a member. So if a suspicious email asks for your contact details on mail, you know it needs to be reported as spam.
- Check If Its Related to You – It’s okay if your bank emails address you as their valued customer. But when you’re addressed as ‘Dear Valued Customer Sir’ in an email you’ve never seen before, you know it’s trying to dupe you.
Spam can be extremely dangerous and is a potential gateway for malicious content such as viruses, Trojans, spyware, malware and ransomware to your system. Always report a suspected email as spam, so that next time you receive email from that address, it will be automatically end up in your spam folder. It would also be worthwhile to be extremely restrictive when sharing your email address on public forums. One malicious spam mail can cause serious damage to your computer, so browse with caution and care.