Where Does Spam Come From?

Posted on: October 10th, 2012 by

After a while, it’s almost inevitable that your email inbox will start getting spam. The more deals you sign up for and the more websites you register on make your email address more and more public. But where does all that spam come from?

Spam, also called “unsolicited commercial email,” actually comes from a variety of places and practically anyone could be a spammer, from huge corporations to individuals. All they need is a bunch of email addresses, and those aren’t hard to get. There are actually many companies that collect email addresses, verify them, and then sell huge lists of these valid email addresses. These companies get addresses from chat rooms, “special offers,” or by crawling the web with spambots. You heard that right. Spambots. These are computer programs specifically designed to look on websites for the “@” sign that gives away an email address.

Chances are, once you start getting a little bit of spam that means a spammer has your email address and will soon pass it on to other spammers–and then you’ll be dealing with a lot of spam.

How can we stop spam? The best way is to setup a spam filter on your email client. Many email clients have built-in spam filters so you won’t need to worry about catching most spam, but you can also purchase your own spam filtering software for extra protection. Make sure you’ve also updated your antivirus software to the latest version just in case any spam gets through your filter.

Most of all, though, be careful where and how often you give out your email address. Don’t sign up for too-good-to-be-true offers, and be careful of the sites you register with. You might even consider setting up a particular email address for spam; that way you can keep your personal address safe and exclusive.

While spam seems inevitable these days, there are ways to combat it. Just be smart!

  • http://www.facebook.com/Quernia Tracy Lee

    As someone who has worked on help desks, this is a common call we get, and this article briefly and simply explains the problem. The best advice for spam is to delete it and move on. One tip I did not see in here is not to click on the unsubscribe link in any spam. Many spammers use this to verify that they have a valid email address and then sell your address to other spammers. Good article!

  • Ems

    Great tips Tracy! They really are sneaky little beggers! I do wish they would stop sending me “how to improve your manhood” mails…makes a girl a bit paranoid!