The Skysnag Blog

What is email spam and how to prevent it

October 1, 2022  |  5 min read

A Guide to recognizing and preventing Spam Emails

For internet users, spam is not a new word. Spam emails are one of the most frustrating aspects of email, and unfortunately, they are becoming more common.

You must have received a spam email. It starts with this: “Your Dream job awaits you for just $500…” or “You have won $3000..” You now understand how spamming is done through emails and how it pans out.

Spammers are getting more sophisticated in their tactics, using social engineering to exploit the needs of their victims. They research their targets carefully to craft convincing stories that will get them to reveal sensitive information or deposit funds.

To prevent yourself from falling prey to such neat tricks, you need to learn more about the working of spammers. You need to understand what spam emails look like, what forms they can take, and how you can prevent them. We have compiled all of it in this guide. So keep reading.

What is a Spam Email?

Spam mails/junk emails are unsolicited messages sent in bulk with the expectation of garnering some interaction. With rising internet usage, spam messages have also increased tremendously. And as email remains the most common and popular form of communication, it is the biggest target of spammers.

According to Statista, spam emails accounted for 45.6 %of total emails in December. These include irrelevant ads, Gmail spam, adult content, and more.

Fun Facts about Spam

  • Approximately 16.8 billion spam emails are sent daily all over the world.
  • It takes 15,650,000 emails before spammers get one reply.
  • Spam email senders can earn about $8000 – $10000 daily. Here are some exciting facts about spam emails:

Now you know the dedication of email spammers and their grit! Just one wrong click on spam mail can cause you some severe damage. Now that you understand the dangers of email spam, it’s crucial that you learn how to recognize and prevent it.

Before we dive into the details on how to detect spam, let us first discuss its many types so that you can identify them.

Types of Spam email

Spammers use a variety of techniques to bombard people with unsolicited messages. They try to create a sense of urgency, forcing recipients to act quickly and not think about the glaring inconsistencies in their requests.

You will find most of these emails in your mailbox’s spam folder or junk folder, but some of them can enter your primary inbox. It can be tough to distinguish between what’s legit and what’s not if that happens.

There are 1000s of different emails that can spam, so knowing how to identify them is essential. So we have mentioned some common types of spam emailing techniques below. Have a look at them:

Tempting Ads

These are the most popular type of spam and can quickly get into your email. Some of these ads can be relevant; however, most are unnecessary and frustrating. The most common ones are eCommerce discounts or “once-in-a-lifetime” travel packages.

Money Scams

The reason why spam emails are so successful is that they prey on people’s vulnerabilities. They know that most of us are looking for ways to make money online, so they send emails advertising numerous “fast ways to become a millionaire.” And who wouldn’t want to be a millionaire?

For example, you will be asked to deposit a small amount of money to get a colossal return in the future, which doesn’t exist! And you lose that small amount. It may not be of influence to you, but spammers earn a lot when done with the masses.

Investment Scams

You may have received stock offerings from unknown businesses in your email inbox. While some of these may be legitimate investments, others may be investment scams promising massive returns. Do your research before investing in any company, and be especially cautious of offers that seem too good to be true.

Urgent Action Needed Spam Emails

Urgent offers are a common social engineering tactic, as spammers know that people are more likely to take action if they feel rushed. It’s important not to let yourself be rushed into making a decision before you’ve had time to think about it.

Adult content Spam

Adult content is a strategy to attract users, and email spamming via this method is widespread. Spammers are aware of the fact that users tend to click on pornographic content as it sparks interest. However, these emails lead you to vulnerable sites that can steal your sensitive data or spread malware.

Now you have learned different forms of spam email and can identify them from far away. So it’s time to move on to prevention techniques because this is important. We have listed some of the best practices to stop email spamming below:

Email Spoofing

Email spoofing is the most dangerous type of spam email. Hackers manipulate the email header “from” addresses and make them look like genuine emails. The content of these spam looks so legit that you automatically click on them. And what happens next is history.

For example, a spam email might suggest that your system has malware that can be removed via a link. If you click on that link, your computer crashes.

This specific type of spam can be avoided if the sending domain is enforced with DMARC, yet 85% of domains worldwide are not.

Spam email senders will use any means possible to contact their victims, including text messages and phone calls. No matter the delivery method, the end result is always the same: spam.

Ways to Prevent Spam Emails

Some of the techniques below only apply to personal Gmail accounts but most are techniques that companies can use.

Never share your email address.

You may not know this, but entering your email address anywhere on the internet increases your chances of getting spammed. Your address can fall into the hands of spammers easily if you share it frequently.

So only type your email if it’s very urgent and the person or place asking for it is extremely reliable. Also try to use encrypted style like yourname(at)google(dot)com” instead of “yourname@google.com“.

Never, ever click on any links in suspicious emails.

As spam emails usually spread malware or steal your info, any links attached to them are not trustworthy. So please don’t click on anything contained in the email, as it can take you to unreliable websites. Even the images may be hyperlinked, so be wary of them!

Check the email’s header.

Whenever you receive emails, don’t open them. First, check the source thoroughly. There is a button on the right side of your email known as “view full header.” Click on it and check whether the from-address and reply-to address are identical.

If they both share the same domain name, which is authentic, then proceed with your activity. If not, then this is a hint that the email is spam.

Loading only text in an email

You will find many creative images and gifs in a spam email. These are mostly linked to unauthorized sites, so avoid accidentally clicking on such creatives. Many mailbox providers like Google, Yahoo, and Gmail already have tools that disable these dynamics, So don’t change their settings and let them load text only.

Check for Typos and grammar mistakes

This is a sign that the email might not be legitimate. Hackers often make these mistakes on purpose to get around spam filters. So, if you notice any errors, be sure to investigate further before taking any action.

Use complicated email addresses. (for individuals only)

If you are an individual, use complicated email addresses. Make it challenging for them by using a combination of alphanumeric characters. It is recommended to increase the complexity of your address. This reduces the chances of it getting generated by spam software and caught by an email spammer bot.

Keeping Alternative Email addresses

You should not use your work email address for personal purposes and vice versa, don’t send professional emails from your personal email address.

Use Block Sender Tools

Using Gmail block sender or Outlook Block sender options can prevent spamming too. For the domain which you have blocked, all their messages will directly land in the spam folder in Gmail and outlook. You can also use a spam filter and spam checkers for additional protection.

Use Spam Filters on your network.

Depending on the email client your company uses, you can usually set up spam filters to automatically send certain emails. You can read your email client guide on how to set up the spam filter, yet make sure your junk folder is free of any legitimate messages before doing so.

Conclusion

If used effectively, email can be a strong and profitable marketing tool. To increase these chances with the help of our automated software your email system is configured to the highest standard of DMARC authentication. Skysnag’s automated SPF and DKIM software protects your recipient’s mailbox from receiving spam emails. Sign up using this link for a free trial today and get started with Skysnag.

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Skysnag helps busy engineers enforce DMARC, responds to any misconfigurations for SPF or DKIM which increases email deliverability, and eliminates email spoofing and identity impersonation.

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