HERE ARE A FEW OF THE MOST COMMON WAYS JUNK EMAIL FINDS YOU:
1. POSTING YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS OR EMAIL LINK ON YOUR WEB SITE PUTS YOU ON SPAM LISTS. A common technique spammers (junk email marketers) use to obtain your email address is through special software that spiders web pages by the thousands (like a search engine) and then extracts any email addresses it finds in the pages, adding them to a list or database. The spammers then sell / trade / use this list to begin sending you unwanted advertising emails. DEFENSE - Use contact forms on your web site instead of openly posting your email address. CLICK HERE TO GET A SAFE CONTACT FORM TO EMBED IN YOUR PAGES
2. AUTORESPONDERS WILL GENERATE JUNK EMAIL TO YOUR ACCOUNT.Many people set up auto-responders on their email accounts so that when an email comes to them, it automatically sends an email back to the sender (typically things like "I'm on vacation and will reply when I get back"). Unfortunately in these times that is a really bad idea, because when an autoresponse is sent in reply to a junk email, it tells the spammer that they've reached a valid email account and they begin selling / trading / marketing your email address. Although it is everyone's right to use an autoresponder and we should all be able to do so without repercussions, spammers in today's climate have ruined this useful feature for all of us. DEFENSE - Do not use auto responders, as they will generate more spam.
3. POSTING ON PUBLIC MESSAGE BOARDS, LISTS, and NEWSGROUPS Most discussion forums and public interest lists offer you the ability to hide your email address when you post a message, but some do not. Spammers search message boards and join discussion lists in order to harvest any emails they can find. DEFENSE - Choose your boards and lists carefully, make sure there is email privacy option before you join, and NEVER post your email address on a public message board or discussion list.
4. COPYING / FORWARDING EMAILS TO MULTIPLE RECIPIENTS We've all had that sinking feeling when we receive a chain letter from a friend only to discover that they've included our email address in the "CC" (carbon copy) header along with the addresses of 50 other people. This not only exposes your email address to strangers and makes you susceptible to possible viruses that their email software may send out, but the chances are that the recipient addresses in the list will then get passed around to eventually end up in the hands of a spammer. In general, openly sending / forwarding emails to multiple disclosed recipients is really bad practice and will earn spam / malware for everyone involved. DEFENSE - Never use the CC field to send to multiple recipients - learn to use the BCC (blind carbon copy) field if you must. BCC will hide every recipient's email address so that you don't expose the privacy of others. ALSO, tell all of your friends about this problem, and urge them to stop including your address in public view.
Those are just a few ways that spam generates, and some basic defenses. Saratoga Hosting offers you extra tools to help you combat spam - read the other items in this section of our KnowledgeBase to learn how you can filter out spam right at the server before it even reaches you!