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E-mail Harvesting

Friday, October 5th, 2007 by | Filed Under: Computer Terms

E-mail Harvesting

Have you ever heard of the term “e-mail harvesting” before? I know some of you have, because I’ve gotten e-mails and phone calls from you about it. Well, whether you do or you don’t, it’s an important term to be familiar with and that’s exactly what I’m going to go over with you today. Obviously, e-mail harvesting has to do with your e-mail, but in what ways does it affect it? How will you know if you’ve been caught by it? Those are just a couple of questions we will go over in this tip, along with some other “good to know” facts. Here we go!

Basically, e-mail harvesting is the process of gathering up e-mail addresses in order to use them for bulk e-mailing purposes, which are usually considered to be spam. In other words, there are people (usually spammers) who go and purchase lists of e-mail addresses so that they can send their spam e-mails out to several users all at the same time. And what makes it even worse is that when a spammer is done with one list, they go out and trade it for other lists and so on. It’s just a big circle that can go on and on. As you can see, that’s where the term comes in, because the spammers are just constantly harvesting off innocent users.

There are several methods of e-mail harvesting and the one I mentioned above is just the beginning. Spammers also use special software called harvesting bots to obtain e-mail addresses from certain Web sites and other online sources. They are also known to use a method of offering a special product or service for free, as long as the user provides a valid e-mail address. They then collect all of those addresses and include them with the bulk mailings. Spammers have even gone as far as guessing e-mail addresses just by coming up with common usernames and domain names. Obviously, spammers have profound ways of getting ahold of what they want, but you can keep yourself safe by using a very unique e-mail address (one they can’t guess) and just by staying away from any unusual offers, etc. you may come across. Just keep your eyes open, use some common sense and you should be safe against the e-mail harvesting attacks. Yes!

~ Erin

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