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Foes Of The Web: Spamming, And How To Prevent It!

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How many times have you tried to sort through the million spam mails in your email inbox, just to find one important mail among them?

Not only is this frustrating, it is very dangerous too. People these days think of the internet as a secure place to share their data and almost everything that they are doing.

What they fail to understand is that there is probably a man sitting in a dark room behind a computer screen scrolling through your pictures as well as your information, posted by none other than you on your social media.

So what is it?

Generally when someone talks about spam, the possible reference made is to emails that we immediately mark as spam or junk. They can be of many types and can vary in danger severity as well. Some may offer suspicious products like Viagra or other kinds of weight building supplements (personal experience!) which you might make you feel a bit awkward, or they could be schemes for people to get rich beyond their dreams – you know how it goes.

What is the basic goal?

Spammers target the desires of their victims so that they are successful in their spamming schemes. It is very common to find lotteries and jackpot emails on your computer, claiming that “you are one of the lucky winners for a legal property/or a car/ or some foreign currency amount”.

The goal of these messages is to spam out your bank account numbers or any other important information that would allow the spammer to receive personal gain, or put you in trouble. If you consider age of the victims, spam emails literally go to everyone.

However, legal and monetary scheming messages generally go to old retired people who have existing bank accounts with a possibility of sufficient funds.

One of my family members, in his early 30s, received a distress call from an exotic female across the globe in need of money. She pressed on the issue in a way that would melt a normal person’s heart, which obviously did result in him sending her a few bucks.

Odds of that girl being desperate enough to contact random strangers for money? Yeah, I didn’t think so either.

They evolve with us.

Think of spam as a type of biological virus that keeps mutating with time. Doctors rush about and create new and improved vaccines in order to eliminate it. Just like this, spammers keep changing the looks and tactics of their spam mails so that they can avoid the Firewall that stands between you and the server.

Where do you get them?

Platforms on which you would receive the spam mails also vary from spammer to spammer. Some people may get them through emails, text messages, phone calls, Facebook or Instagram messages, and even Snap-Chat! The goal always remains the same.

How do these spammers do it?

The most basic way would be to fish out the email addresses posted on different forums across the web. People comment on random blogs and forums, which allows their email addresses to be visible. If you bring the spotlight on Facebook, there are very high chances that your posts and pictures are not completely set on privacy.

Other than this, ‘checking in’ wherever you are becomes quiet dangerous as you are literally letting people know where you are and what you are doing. This is related to stalking rather than just spamming.

A new technique applied by spammers these days is tricking people into signing up on Facebook through a false link (it looks pretty similar), allowing the spammer to have access to your Facebook account and all the information in it. – Yikes!

How would you shield yourself from spam?

  • Download spam-blocking applications with good reviews such as AirG Hookt, MailWasher, and Spamihilator
  • Avoid posting on random forums and blogs.
  • Add a website filters to your browser.
  • Do not give away your email address everywhere.
  • Keep your Facebook and Instagram page on Privacy.
  • Do not add strange numbers on your chat applications.
  • Always keep a check on what kind of photos you release of yourself, to whom, and where.
  • Avoid clicking on spam mails that you have received in your inbox. Directly mark them and send them to Trash or Junk.
  • Never forward spam mails to any of your contact lists.
  • If you log in on any public devices, or even another friend’s device, be sure to log out.

Hope all this helps. Stay safe everyone!

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Robert D. Cobb
Founder, Publisher and CEO of INSCMagazine. Works have appeared and featured in places such as Forbes, Huffington Post, ESPN and NBC Sports to name a few. Follow me on Twitter at @RobCobb_INSC, email me at robert.cobb@theinscribermag.com