Spam averages 94% of all e-mail sent. E-mail spam, also known as junk e-mail, are identical unsolicited messages sent to numerous recipients by e-mail.
E-mail spam has steadily, even exponentially grown since the early 1990s to several billion messages a day. Spam has frustrated, confused, and annoyed e-mail users. Laws against spam have been sporadically implemented over the years. The total volume of spam (over 100 billion e-mails per day as of July 2008) has leveled off slightly in recent years, and is no longer growing exponentially. The amount received by most e-mail users has decreased, mostly because of better email filtering software. About 80% of all spam is sent by fewer than 200 spammers. Botnets, networks of virus-infected computers, are used to send about 80% of spam.
E-mail addresses are collected from chat rooms, websites, newsgroups, and viruses which harvest users' address books, and are sold to other spammers. Much of spam is sent to invalid e-mail addresses. ISPs have attempted to recover the cost of spam through lawsuits against spammers, although they have been mostly unsuccessful in collecting damages despite winning in court.
- Check to see if your e-mail address is visible to spammers by typing it into a Web search engine; if your e-mail address is posted to any Web sites or newsgroups, remove if it possible to help reduce how much spam you receive.
- Lots of ISPs provide free e-mail addresses. Set up two e-mail addresses, one for personal e-mail and use the other for subscribing to newsletters or posting on forums and other public locations.
- When replying to newsgroup postings, do not include your e-mail addresses.
- Never respond to spam. If you reply, even to request removing your e-mail address from the mailing list, you are confirming that your e-mail address is valid and the spam has been successfully delivered to your inbox.
- Do not open spam message wherever possible. When in doubt, simply delete the e-mail.
- Do not click on the links in spam messages, including unsubscribe links. These frequently contain a code that identifies the e-mail address of the recipient, and can confirm that spam has been delivered and that you responded.
- Never buy any goods from spammers. The spammers rely on very small percentages of people responding to spam and buying goods. Would you risk giving your credit card details to an unknown, disreputable source?
- Do not respond to e-mail requests to validate or confirm any of your account details. Your bank, credit card company, eBay, PayPal, etc., already have your account details, so would not need you to validate them.
- Do not click on the links in the e-mail, as they may be fake links to phishing websites. Confirm the sender did send the e-mail if it looks suspicious.