Don’t fall for that Email Collection scam
In the old days, spammers find out about your email by crawling the web and harvesting all email addresses it bumps into. Today, they’ve become more clever and are using a whole new set of tools to grab your emails in a jiffy, and sometimes with a help of your trusted friends.
Here are several ways they employ to gather legit or active email addresses:
- Viral Quizzes. People just love quizzes — How romantic are you? Test your music skills! How much do you know about your wife? How good are you in bed? Do you hate math , take this test! — and it’s one way for people to email these to friends and officemates. Oftentimes, the victim is asked to enter his/her email and also to at least 10 other emails.
- Contests. Like above, winning free gadgets and stuff is a major motivation to give out one’s email address. Sometimes, the more email address you enter into their referral system, the more chances you have of winning. Well, yeah, as if you’re really winning anything from them — except maybe the ire of friends who got the spam. See our discussion about XPango in the forums.
- Free Downloads. Every once in a while, we’d look for software, device drivers, wallpapers, games and so many other free stuff online. Wonder why those free downloads you’re getting will ask you to give them your email address? Others do this legitimately and follow opt-out policies. Others would sell the whole database of emails to the highest bidder. Nice business model, huh?
- Social Networking invites. I’m sure a lot of you have gotten invites to join some new social networking site you’ve never heard before. What better way to collect email than by asking you friends to join you in harvesting emails? Just look at this recent case with Quechup.
Once we know better, they’d find more ways for us to give away our email address. One way to really make sure if these stuff are real is by doing a quick search. I’m sure others have already fallen into the trap and wrote about it somewhere.