Afraid Of Falling Into Another Airg Spam? Here’s What You Can Do To Stay Safe
Humans are reckless by nature. They act before they think things through. And now more than ever, as we surf the internet and come across numerous interesting websites, we freely and willingly enter our email addresses and phone numbers without thinking about the consequences.
Often, personal data that is entered to register or login to websites is misused. Hence our inboxes are flooded with spam. Junk emails, promotions, and fake messages are just a few examples.
What is spam?
Spam refers to the use of unrequested or unwanted messages via electronic messaging systems. It targets a large number of people and is sent out in bulk. When we hear the word spam, we immediately think of email spam. However, as technology has evolved, so has internet-based communication. Basically, any device or service that provides a means of communication is good enough for spam. Therefore, there are various types of media through which it is sent. Here are just a few:
Email spam, also known as junk mail or unsolicited bulk email (UBE), is the practice of sending unwanted email messages mostly with commercial content. An industry of email address harvesting is dedicated to collecting email addresses and selling these compiled databases to promote advertising. Most of the times users do not read the fine print of agreements. Inadvertently, this results in allowing these sites to send messages.
- Social media
Spam content appears on social media networks such as Facebook, Pinterest, Google+, etc. it is estimated that 40% of these accounts are used for spam.
- Instant messaging
Messaging spam, also known as SPIM, targets users of IM and SMS. It is directed at text messaging in mobile phones or other communication services in smartphones. Whatsapp, Messenger, Snapchat, and Airg spam these social media platforms by using information such as gender, age, location, and interests. Scammers and advertisers sign on to these services and send unwelcome messages containing malware, scam links, or pornographic material. However, users can adjust privacy settings so that only people they know can contact them. They can also block and report spam accounts.
- Online gaming
Online gamers share personal information through chat rooms, player-to-player messaging, and public discussion forums. However, it is common for scammers to use this data to sell game-related objects for real-world money.
Who uses spam and why
Almost everyone will agree that spamming is immoral, but many people still do it. It’s beneficial for those who are linked to e-marketing. As businesses are expanding and competition is fierce, everyone agrees that it is the survival of the fittest and strength is in numbers. To attract as many customers as possible, institutions are deploying to advertisement tactics. Advertising on paper is expensive. Comparatively, the cost of delivering an ad through digital media is next to nothing. This is because large-scale spamming can be done effortlessly with nothing more than a computer and internet connection. Considering this minimal expense, the potential for profits is huge. But even if a small percentage of people respond to spam, the campaign is deemed successful, and the costs can be easily recovered.
The problems associated with spam
E-commerce and e-marketing are huge industries. With millions of potential clients, spam is appealing and, unfortunately, successful. Yet there are multiple problems associated with it.
- The main problem is that it wastes a lot of time. According to current estimates, approximately 95% of email is spam.
- Because spam arrives in great volume, it consumes a lot of network bandwidth.
- Another problem is the content. Not only is spam unwanted, but it advertises many questionable services and products such as scams and other shady subjects.
- This leads up to the most negative aspect of spamming, also known as phishing. Personal information, such as ID, phone number and credit card number, is used for fraud.
How to avoid getting spam
Prevention is the number one way to avoid spam. Avoid handing out email address and other personal information on unknown sites. And if the necessity arises, use multiple email addresses: one for work and colleagues, one for friends and family, and another disposable one for unfamiliar sources. If an email account receives large amounts of spam, it is highly possible that it is on a spammer’s list. The volume of junk mail will only continue to increase; therefore, the only solution is to replace it with another one.
Following are tips on how to avoid getting into a spammer’s mailing list.
- Avoid opening spam emails or clicking on links in spam messages.
- Do not reply to spam mail or messages.
- Do not unsubscribe from the spam list. This only tells the spammer that the email address is valid and in use. Unfortunately, this will only increase the quantity of spam mail.
- Do not buy anything from a spammer. By disclosing personal information, you may be putting yourself in a risky position, either for fraud or infecting your computer with malware, virus, trojans, etc.
- Do not threaten the spammer. Your response can be used against you in the court of law. Even spammers have rights!
- As explained above, use a disposable address when dealing with unknown sites or sources. Keep your main email address safe.
- To misguide spambots, write out your email address in words, instead of symbols, for example, ‘ an at z dot com’ instead of the usual ‘firstname.lastname@example.org.’ And if you own a business, don’t post your private email address. It is better to use a contact form instead.
- Spam filters
Email apps and ISPs (internet service providers) are providing filtering features for transferring unsolicited emails into ‘junk’ or ‘spam’ folders. You can set the application’s features to block specific unnecessary messages. Some phones are even able to divert calls and block spam calls.
Be smart and protect yourself from potential scammers! The easiest and best way prevent yourself from falling prey to spammers is to protect your email address.