How Does Spam Work?

by Art Corvelay

Introduction to Spam

Spam is known as email that is unwanted and often comes from sources trying to sell you something or gain your personal information. Although spam may not yield a high success rate, the ease of sending spam makes it a lucrative business venture for many spammers. Most of us get spam everyday but few of us think about where it comes from and how it works. This article will discuss how spam works by outlining different methods in which spammers obtain email addresses. It will also outline a few ways to prevent spam from inundating your email inbox.

How Spammers Obtain your Email Address

There are several methods that spammers use to obtain your email address. The first, and probably the easiest, is buying email addresses from a company. There are many companies that compile email addresses and sell CDs full of them. Spammers can easily plug these lists into an email client and email thousands of people at a time. Another method that they use to obtain email addresses is to look though internet forums, message boards, blogs, and news groups. People will often leave their email addresses when posting or responding in those online communities. Finally, many spammers create programs that search the web for the @ symbol. When they find the @ symbol, most likely they have an email address. Although there are several methods spammers can use to obtain your email address, there are also several ways for you to protect yourself from spam.

Protecting Yourself from Spam

One of the easiest ways to protect yourself from spam is to use an email client that has a built in spam filter. These filters look for suspicious messages and automatically place the spam into a quarantined folder. Another way to protect yourself from spam is to try not to post your email address anywhere on the web. If you need to, you should post your address in all words and refrain from using symbols. For example, your address might look like this: myemail at gmail dot com. This will stop programs from searching for the @ symbol and make it more difficult for spammers to obtain your email address.

About the Author

Art Corvelay is a freelance writer for demand studios who has been writing and editing for five years. He holds a Ph.D. in technical communication and teaches courses in writing and editing at the university level.