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How Spammers get your E-mail Address

If you have an e-mail address then you will be a target of spam. Unfortunately that is a fact of today’s Internet. There is little you can do to avoid ending up on a list of targets for spammers.

The first way a spammer (Or the person who sells the list to the spammer) gathers their list of addresses is to scan websites. They have built automated tools, which scan through web pages with the sole purpose of gathering e-mail addresses. The e-mails they gather then get added to a database, which may then be sold on to other spammers.

These automated tools are able to search through search engines such as Google to find new sites - in the same way as you would. Their e-mail address collecting tools then read through every page on the website making a list of any address they find. This includes any public forums you may of posted a message to, any online notice you may have posted or even on your own personal home page.

And then there are some websites that ask you to register before giving access to certain aspects or to enable you to order a product. Some of these websites may not be as careful with your e-mail address as you would like, some may sell on their mailing list to other parties or they simply be hacked into with your details being stolen.

The final and probably most worrying method is that the spammers will simply guess your e-mail address. The spammers are able to create a list of domain names (The last part of your e-mail address, e.g. @yourISP.com) and from this list they will just fire off thousands of random names.

So they would e-mail jonh.smith@yourISP.com, joe.jones@yourISP.com and so on. Because they are able to send out millions of spam messages each day, it doesn’t matter to them that 90% of these addresses do not end get delivered – the 10% that do is more than enough.

In conclusion there is not much you can do to avoid ending up on a spammers e-mail list. Even if you never tell anyone your e-mail address, chances are the spammers will guess it eventually!

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