In order to fight and avoid spam emails, users need to understand how their email address has become target to spammers in the first place. Spammers can access email addresses from many sources.
Almost every time users sign up on a website that requires email authentication, there is a great chance that the organisation will later use it to make a list to send out announcements and advertisements. Some companies will even sell that list to third parties, which will result in more unwanted emails.
Another way for scammers to gather emails is to simply scour the Internet searching for them. Spammers use tools that can easily search and record email addresses published anywhere on the web.
However, it is important to remember that not all unwanted emails are spam. Sometimes when a user registers software or signs up to a particular website, there is a check box that they can select in order to receive newsletters or updates from the company. In many cases, this box is checked by default, so users have to manually uncheck it if they don’t wish to receive such emails.
The most important rule, however, is never to reply to spam emails or click on spam messages or links. If users do so, they risk validating their email address as ‘active’ and become more vulnerable to spam attacks. Again, there are exceptions – if the message is from a reliable organisation and provides an ‘unsubscribe’ option, users can opt out by simply clicking it. It is usually very easy to differentiate between reliable and spam senders by the actual message content.