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How Do Spammers Get Your Emails?

August 14th, 2009 by Andreas Xavier in Email Addresses, Web sites. Topics:

Have you ever wonder how you are being spammed? Just how did they get a hold of your email address to send you those useless mails? Here are a few common ways that spammers could get a hold of your private email address:

Email Extractors

This program looks out for Email address on websites or in online forums. Once the Email is found, it will be added onto the database. Thereafter, a separate program will be used to test the validity of the addresses. Gathering 15,000 Email addresses in an hour is not uncommon for an Email Extractor.

Dictionary Attacker

A “dictionary” program is used to generate random Email addresses by guessing the user’s ID. Usually this guesswork is conducted by using peoples first and last name and other more common names. Millions of us share the same common domain name such as hotmail.com and yahoo.com. This method may be time consuming but it works equally well compared to other more common methods.

Online Forums

Another slow yet effective manner is by manually harvesting the Email addresses from online forums. Paid membership forums are likely the targets for Spammers to launch their attack. Online forums that post a monthly fee will be highly infested by Spammers, as more accurate target market can be defined based on the affordability of the users.

Hoax Websites

These websites are set-up with irresistible temptations that usually include chances to win a free trip or an entry to a draw or lotto. Usually the condition required is simply just an Email address. Once you click enter, you will be welcomed by a world of Spammers.

Offline Harvester

Not all spam is collected from the Web. There’s a price to pay when you participate in contests organized by shopping malls, when you fill up a simple survey form or when you throw in your details for a lucky draw. Moneymakers will compile the gathered information into a database and sell it to Spammers.

About the author
Andreas co-founded Xavier Media® in 1996 and has since been involved in all kinds of development, marketing and making money online.


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