What Are Spam Emails and How Can I Prevent Them?

You get a notification that there’s a new email. You click on it and discover it’s another spam email, designed to make you as much money as possible. You are frustrated, but you continue reading. Maybe it’s an offer from a popular brand. Or a request for more information about a product.

You read on, intrigued. But then you receive another email that’s so similar to the first that it becomes clear this is just a tactic designed to make you open and click on as many links as possible.

Finally, you give up and delete the email. But you’re worried that if you do so, you’ll lose valuable information. You decide to leave a helpful comment so that the spammer knows that what they’re doing isn’t working. The next day, you wake up to discover that your comment has been selected for moderation. Once approved, it will be visible to the public as an insight into the spammer’s behavior. It’s a great way to expose and counteract online fraudsters.

What happened? You opened the spammer’s email and clicked on a few links. The spammer bought a few advertising spaces on popular websites that appear to be affiliated with major brands. When you open one of those websites, you’re greeted with an offer for that brand. It’s really easy to fall victim to spam emails, since the perpetrators know that most people will simply click on the first or second link in an email to learn more about a product or service. But it’s important to remember that even if you never clicked on a link in a spam email, you were still exposed to the malicious code that’s designed to infect your computer with malware.

Why Are Spam Emails A Big Problem?

The sheer volume of spam emails is astounding. In 2020, the number of spam emails sent per day was 322 billion, according to SpamSearcher.com. That’s an increase of 17% from 2019. The economic cost of spam is also becoming more significant. One-in-five (20%) of adults in the United States report having had their personal information compromised because of spam, according to a 2020 Norton survey. The same percentage (20%) have had their physical security compromised by spam as well. While it’s not always the case, once your information is out there, it’s often easier for a criminal to access it. That’s why every email you receive from a brand or politician that you’ve opted in to hear from should be respected as legitimate information and unopened.

Preventing Spam

If you receive an email that looks suspicious, it’s a good idea to unsubscribe from the source. Otherwise, it’s difficult to know whether or not you’re actually receiving valuable information. The bottom line is that it’s never safe to click on a link in an email or open a file that was sent by someone you don’t know. That’s how malware gets into your system.

Tips for Preventing Spam

People are being fooled into thinking that spam is an easy problem to solve. Many believe that simply blocking spam is enough and that they won’t have to worry about it. However, this could lead to them missing out on important information. If you want to prevent spam, you have to be discerning about the emails you allow into your inbox.

Here are some tips for avoiding spam:

Review All Email

Most importantly, you should review every email you receive. While you might not have time to read every message, at least take the time to skim through them to make sure there aren’t any obvious spammy patterns or words used that might mark the messages as fraudulent. Even if you delete the email after you read it, you’re opening yourself up to a risk of damage. You never know what information might’ve been contained in a message that was once vital to your existence.

Checking these emails regularly is the best way to catch potential spam before it gets into your inbox. Some people will try to trick you into clicking on a link, others will use specific words in an attempt to coax you into purchasing a product, and still others might just want to ruin your day with sheer volume. However, if you’re diligent about reviewing your email, you can rest assured that you’re doing all you can to stay safe from online fraud.

Use A Better Email Service

The better the email service, the better the chance of avoiding spam. While it’s certainly possible to set up Gmail filters to catch and block spam, the best strategy is to use a service that’s specifically designed to prevent spammy emails from reaching your inbox.

Since Gmail is one of the most popular email services in use today, it’s naturally tempting to use it. But if you really want to keep spam out of your inbox, it’s best to consider using a service like BlueMailer or Sploofy.com. Once you’ve registered for either of these services, you’ll be able to set up a spam trap that will analyze each and every email you receive. If any of the words or phrases used in the email are marked as “spammy,” the email will be sent to a special address that you’ve previously specified. At that point, you can either delete the message or review it in detail, depending on how concerned you are about avoiding spam.

These services can be helpful in other ways as well. For example, if you use BlueMailer, you can set up a honeypot email account, which is a fake or decoy email account used to attract and distract spammers. When a spammer attempts to contact you using your regular email address, you’ll be notified that a new message has arrived and that you should review it since it might be a sign of an attempted attack. From there, you can determine the validity of the email and either block it or answer it depending on your wishes.

It’s always a good idea to be safe online, and it starts with avoiding spam. Once you’ve cut off the source of spam, it’s time to take measures to ensure your data is as safe as possible. Two options await you:

  • Use a VPN to encrypt your data as it travels to and from your device
  • Use two-factor authentication to protect your accounts and avoid hackers and malware from gaining access

There are many different kinds of VPNs out there, so find one that suits your needs. Many providers offer strict no-logging policies, which ensure that you’re not being tracked by your VPN service. If you’re worried about government snooping, using a VPN is certainly the best way to go. It could even help you stay anonymous if you’re doing something illegal online.

Two-factor authentication is also something to consider. It can be as easy as simply adding another factor, such as a security code that you receive via text message, when you log in. Some services require you to add a security code to your login information every time you log in from a new device. It’s a quick and easy way to ensure you’re always careful when using a connected device.

It’s never easy avoiding spam online, but with a little bit of preparation and common sense, it’s certainly possible. Now that you’re aware of the problem, you can take measures to keep your personal information safe and enjoy your time online without worry.

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