What Are the Dangers of Spam?

Spammers can send email that includes viruses, worms and Trojans that infect your computer. Not all viruses crash your computer, some are set up to spy on you when you are online. They can track what sites you visit and copy your username and passwords and send them back to the spammer/hacker. You are then left vulnerable to an even larger threat. Identity theft.

Some of these viruses attach themselves to your computer’s operating system and prevent you from removing them. They often work undetected and can only be removed by completely reinstalling the factory settings, or visiting your local computer guru.

The easiest way to stop spam is not to sign up for anything you don’t need. If you do need to sign up for something that requires an email address, use an alternate email address, so your primary email address stays as spam free as possible.

If you want to take things to the next level and get a secure email address from a company like Spam Arrest and the only email you’ll receive is from the members on your white list.

How Are Companies Getting My Email Address?

A company can collect email addresses and forward them to affiliated partners. Here are some of the ways that companies are getting your email address.

Personal Homepages

Just about everyone has a homepage. Almost every internet service provider (ISP) offers you a place to put up your own website, but many people also include their contact information. This is not a good idea. Spiders are continually crawling the web and harvesting email addresses from websites that provide contact information.

Harvesting software searches the internet for the @ symbol. In searching for it, they recognize that this is likely an email address and therefore it leaves you open to receive their spam. By harvesting as many addresses as they can, spammers simply use the law of averages. The more email you send, the more responses you get.

Once you reply to spam, you announce that your email address is monitored and you’ll likely get even more spam. Then, spammer 1 sells your address to a network of other spammers and your inbox turns into a depository for penis enlargement and breast implant emails.

Registration Forms

Nearly all registration forms that you fill out can lead to spam. Sometimes there is a box that you can check if you do not wish to receive emails from the company or its affiliates. Unless you want to receive email from them, you should click the box. If you don’t get an option, you may want to forget the registration all together.

This registration spam also applies when you are registering a new piece of software. Many companies tell you that registering allows them to keep you informed of any product upgrades, but they also use it to send you advertising.

Contest Entries

An easy way for companies to get your email information is to post contests for things that you want to win. Of course, to enter, you must provide your email information so that they can notify you if you win. This also applies to gift offers and subscriptions.

Before signing up for a contest, check the company that is promoting it. Some of these contests are legitimate, and some of them are set up specifically to get your email address. It’s a really tricky business. The prize may not always be worth the amount of spam you receive.