Why Am I Getting So Much Spam?

The best way to stop spam is to stop it from ever happening in the first place. To better understand what can be done about receiving spam it is important to understand how spammers send mail and why they may target one specific address over another address. There are two primary ways that spammers choose which emails to send to:

  • Dictionary Harvest Attack: A dictionary harvest attack is when spammers attempt to find valid email addresses by randomly sending mail to common mailbox names for a domain, such as info@mydomain.com or admin@mydomain.com. You can minimize spam that is generated this way by ensuring that your email account names are unique and specific. Examples: mycompany.admin@mydomain.com, mydepartment.info@mydomain.com
  • Email Harvesting: Email harvesting is when spammers use a number of techniques for finding valid email addresses for purposes of sending spam to. Once an email has been harvested and identified as valid and responsive, the email address then goes on a spam list. Spam lists may then be traded or sold in bulk, making the email address available to more and more spammers as time goes on.

Of these two methods, email harvesting is by far the more devastating. An email that is known to be active and vulnerable to attack may be traded and added to more lists, resulting in the delivery of thousands of spam messages. The best way to avoid receiving large quantities of spam is to never be placed on these lists in the first place. To do that it is helpful to know what ways a spammer can harvest your email address.