Protecting your e-mail addresses from spammers
Spammers use different methods to obtain e-mail addresses to send unsolicited messages to. Bots crawl the web to collect e-mail addresses listed on web sites. These bots are called harvesters. Hackers also obtain the addresses of the correspondents of their victims. They collect them from hacked mailboxes or infected machines. Some companies also sell people's personal data to spammers.
- You can replace the @ symbol in the email address with the word "at", and the dot(s) with the word "dot", eventually surrounded by some characters, such as square brackets, for example, if your e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org, you can write it this way:
- Another similar method is to display the e-mail address as an image such as:
- You may also utilize a script that will scramble or encode the e-mail address. You can look for such a script online, or a professional can implement such a solution for your website.
Harvesters will need more resources to interpret an address displayed using the above methods, while the majority of your web visitors will easily understand the actual address. They may only experience the minor inconvenience that they will not be able to simply copy-paste your e-mail address directly, and there is a possibility of mistakes while entering it. You should note that no solution is perfect. If an e-mail address is visible to a human, it may be interpreted by a bot.
* With our service, there is no limit on the amount of e-mail addresses you can create, and you can set up e-mail forwarding. This gives you the opportunity to use different e-mail addresses for different purposes: registrations, online forums, contact forms on your website, etc. If a forwarding e-mail address starts receiving too much spam, you can simply delete it.
* You should never follow unsubscribe links in apparent spam messages or in messages sent from services you have not subscribed for. In almost all cases, these links are either invalid, or, even worse, they prove to the spammers that their message reached a real person who monitors the mailbox. This raises the value of your e-mail address on the illegal market where it will be again sold in bulk with others.
* Do not list your main contact e-mail address in the WHOIS details of your domain name. Spammers target the listed contacts of domain names. You can list a forwarding e-mail address as contact. Over the time, it will be getting more and more spam. You should replace this address periodically.
Although there is much you can do to limit the exposure of your e-mail addresses to spammers, there are some things that you can hardly control.
Common addresses such as email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, etc, are a default target of spammers. Such mailboxes exist at many domains, so spammers send messages to them blindly, presuming their possible existence. You should avoid having such mailboxes, unless it is necessary for your business.