How Spammers Get Your Email Address
As the solutions to spam improve each day so also do the spammers methods for gathering our personal information. This section discusses several of the primary methods for a junk mail merchant to get your e-mail address:
Purchase a CD of Email Addresses
1. Spammers can buy 90 million+ e-mail addressess on a single CD for about $20. They simply "load" these e-mail addresses into their bulk mail program and hit Send. Fortunately most of these e-mail addresses are duds and are of no use to the spammer at all.
From a Website
Email Harvester Programs
3. E-mail extractors can also be used. These programs wander around the web looking for e-mail addresses on websites or in online forums. Once they find an address they harvest it by adding the address into their email database. Later, a separate program tests the emails for validity to see if they are active. A typical e-mail extractor can gather 15,000 e-mail addresses per hour.
4. They prowl online forums manually gathering e-mail addresses. This is a slow process but more and more webmasters are making it difficult for spammers to automatically harvest e-mail addresses from their groups. Paid membership forums are the main target. Customers who can afford $20 a month to use an online forum are a prime target for their next spam campaign. Money follows money as it were.
5. They use newsgroup harvesters to automatically scan for and gather e-mail addresses. A junk mailer can gather e-mail addresses from 20,000 - 30,000 newsgroups simultaneously. They can potentially gather hundreds of thousands of e-mail addresses in very little time using this method.
6. They set up a hoax competition website or similar. The only condition for entering the draw/lotto is entering your e-mail address. Once you enter your e-mail address you are on yet another spam list.
7. A "dictionary" program is used. It takes common domains like @yahoo.com and then generates random e-mail addresses using peoples first and last names combined with other guesswork to create a working junk mail list. This is time consuming but works perfectly well.
Once a spammer has your e-mail address he or she will then gather all the required data for their next mail shot with you as one of the target customers. There are solutions and the primary solution in use today is installing a spam blocker on your PC or signing up for an online challenge response spam program.
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