How Do They Get Your Email Addresses?
Spammers use various methods to get email addresses, but people generally start receiving spam email once they: post a message on a newsgroup; give their address to an online retailer; sign up for a product or service online; e-mail a spammer asking them to remove their address from their mailing list, or place their e-mail address on a website. There are other methods that mass mailers use but most methods can be thwarted with a little know-how. We will stop receiving spam email, if we follow these simple tips that follow.
The dictionary attack method uses software to generate new email addresses, by guessing the first part of the address and appending it to the domain name of a popular email service provider. For example, a dictionary attack will easily guess rickallen@gmail and email@example.com.
Placing underscores in your email address will slow down all but the most sophisticated email address generators. Protect yourself by using hard to guess email addresses, or include numbers and special characters in your address. It is unlikely that an email generator will guess an address like, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Third Party Lists
Spammers often purchase email addresses in bulk from a third party. They will then extensively market to the new email addresses, or sell them to someone else. These lists are compiled by email merchants, from different sources, and resold. Interestingly, most of the addresses on these lists are actually surrendered by account holders, who freely give up their contact details in exchange for the promise of a product, service or information.