What is Spam Emails? and how to prevent them?

Published on 2020-05-02ยท Updated on 2021-12-15


Spam is not a word which is very new to you; it is probably the oldest and worst in digital marketing. Tell me, who might not have got an email like "You have won a $1,000,000" or "Your Dream job is waiting for $300", mine example might be a bit bad ๐Ÿคญ. But I think you might have understood what I am talking!

So why I said that Spam is not a surprise?

Because even before the internet there was a similar concept which was executed by printing advertisement pamphlets and distributing on streets ๐Ÿ“„, Chain letters in the post boxes ๐Ÿ“ฌ, or frequent phone calls for products and service โ˜Ž. But reaching out to people through such way was just a waste of time and money.

In the other hand, today's spammer doesn't take any special efforts they directly used different channels like messages, applications, and an email to send out their bulk messages.


  1. What is Spam Email?
  2. Types of Spam Email
    - Irrelevant Ads
    - Email Spoofing
    - Money Scams
    - Hoaxes
    - Malware warnings
    - Adult content spams
  3. How to prevent/stop spam emails?

What is Spam Email?

Spam emails are also known as junk emails; these emails are unsolicited messages which are bulk and sent with an expectation of getting a small amount of interaction.

With the increase in technology trends and bots, Spam has also increased tremendously. No matter how much new channels are getting discovered for marketing and communication, email always holds the first spot.

Right from the early 1990s when an email came into popularity, Spam has been growing every day. As per propeller's survey, about 45% of total email is a spam email which includes irrelevant ads, scams, adult contents and many more.

The most exciting fact about this Spam is:

  1. About 16.8 billion emails are sent every day all over the globe.
  2. As per spam laws, you can divide spam emails as below:
    - 33% of irrelevant ads.
    - 26.5% of emails are financial theft.
    - 2.5% of emails are scams and fraud.
    - 73% of emails are Identity theft (email as links to phishing pages).
  3. According to the above calculation, it states that after every 15,650,000 emails spammers receive one reply.

If you are shocked with the above facts then wait for a second do you know that by compromising your personal information through this spam medium spammers earn about $8K to $10K per day.

Yes! You read it right, so now you know how important it is to learn about email spam and its prevention.

In this tutorial, you will learn what Spam emails, its type and how you can prevent them are?.

Types of Spam email

Spam email is just the creative way of cheating innocent fellows. But the most common moto among all kind of Spam is spreading malware and stealing your personal information which includes your bank credentials, credit card details and many more.

Even now, if you check your mailbox's junk folder, there will find 1000s of different emails. Some might be product and services, some will just show you irrelevant ads, some might have miracle subject lines like lose your weight in 1 week without workout, and all this will lead to a webpage (phishing page) which will ask you to fill up and steal crucial information.

Below are the few spam email examples with there type:

Irrelevant Ads

The most common and easy to get into email are ads ๐Ÿ“ป. Those emails can be relevant one among others and also states that you have somewhere opt-in particular email address for product and sales update.

E.g. You decided to purchase some merchandise and added that in your wishlist on Amazon. Now, based on your choice, they will send you an email on alternative good as a suggestion. But you might even get irrelevant emails, which says that you have somewhere shared your email address over the internet which is crawled by spambots. Now this email address is under the control of spammers.

Email Spoofing

In simple words, Email spoofing is manipulating the email header's from-address in such a way that when an email is to send it will look as it has come from a legitimate source. This email's body content looks so informative and have links in such a way that you will automatically follow the step to get benefitted.

E.g. The email might suggest that your system has malware and which is affecting your /root/home directory if you didn't download and install the anti-virus software from xyx.link.apk attached then your computer system will be crash.

Money Scams

As the name suggests, these emails are all about winning money ๐Ÿค‘. Don't get me wrong here; I am talking about a scheme. Yes! The Nigerian Prince scheme. Ok, so this scam is all about a small amount of money you need to pay to get rewarded with colossal lottery amount in future.

Money scams also involve schemes like "Help by donating small" this states that you need to make a small donation for an orphanage child for their daily needs or help patients who suffer from any diseases.


My favourite, I call this a "Magical email" ๐Ÿง™โ€โ™‚๏ธ. Because these emails are illogical and practically impossible but still innocent people easily fall for these emails. I can bet you might have at least read one of this subject line or emails stating the subject line.

E.g. "Get your body in shape in just one week without workout". OR "Get your dream job in one week".

Adult content Spams.

I decided to add this intentionally ๐Ÿง because these emails are widespread. Spammers know very well that sending out pornography in email content looks lucrative and people's interest. These emails have content which will redirect you to vulnerable websites which will try to steal whatever information you are willingly giving them.

Malware warnings

These emails are not standard, but when you share email address over the internet, probably the spambots might crawl, or botnets might share in different forums and dark web. These emails consist of compress files and the email body which states the steps to follow; to remove the malware from your system, but it is adding malware to your computer system.

E.g. someone might have sent you an email stating, please find my resume attached which might be a malware.

How to prevent/stop spam emails?

Spam is one-directional efforts to gain your personal information by spammers, hackers or fraudulent which can be easily stopped by following few techniques. One of the best ways is, never share email address over the internet.

Unless it is very urgent, but due to some criticality, if you are sharing your email address do write in encrypted style like "myname(at)google(dot)com" instead of writing "[email protected]".

Let us check few more to stop spam emails:

1. Never revert or click on any links in spam email

Since these emails are not trustworthy or didn't come from an authentic source. Don't purchase any item or click on any link within the emails not even on unsubscribe link. Because these states that the email address is valid and the user exists in real.

So the probability of spamming may increase โฌ†.

2. Check Email's header

When you receive an email, there is always a button on the right side know as "show original" or "view source" or "view full header".

Always read the from-address and reply-to. If both shares the same domain name and the domain seem authentic, then you can do your activity, but if the from-address and reply-to share a different field, then this might be a hint that email is spam.

3. Load only text in an email

A spam email will have lots of creative like images, gif or hidden links. To avoid accidental clicks on such creative disable the dynamic loading of emails. Different mailbox providers such as Google, Outlook, yahoo already has such functionality enabled don't change the setting in this case.

4. Use the complicated email address

To crack a complex problem is always tough for all. It is recommended to use a complicated email address which can be a combination of alphanumeric characters. Email address can be generated easily with few lines of code if the complexity of email address is high, there is less chance of getting generated by spammer's software.

5. Stop Forwarding Emails

Forwarding emails usually creates a table-like structure within an email body which has from-name, from-address, recipient, reply-to and recipients-cc. When you forward an email, the same table-like structure is again added.

If this goes on continuously, you will see the trend or list email address from where the origin of the forwarding of email started. That becomes very easy of a spammer to crawl and get the list of name, email addresses and content. So that the spam database gets ready without any efforts.

6. Stop using display name as an email address

The silly and dumb mistakes made by a human being while creating an account. I have seen people keeping their email addresses as a profile name, and within seconds these email addresses are crawled and shared all over the internet.

The Good internet days are gone; Your every activity are getting tracked and stored by one or another application to whom you have given all your access. So stop writing your profile name as an email address.

7. Keep Alternative Email addresses

My suggestion always keeps three email addresses, i.e. personal, professional, educational. This will help you to track, subscribe and learn without getting spammed with irrelevant information.

8. Read privacy policies before sharing information

Don't opt-in for any kind or subscription unless you read their privacy policies. Check whether you can opt-out the same way you have opt-in. Do not share your information with such companies unless you are confident enough with their security. Make sure they are not sharing your email addresses with some other companies (parent or child).


Spam emails are dangerous for everyone; they cheat us, steal our data and sell on the dark web. But as you saw that could be prevented easily, all you need is awareness. So keep your email address complex, don't share anywhere on the internet and the most important don't interact with such spam emails.

I hope this tutorial was useful in sharing information about spam email and ways to prevent them effectively. Feel free to share your experience below in comments.

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Vikram Sahu ๐Ÿฆ‰

Developer Evangelist, Pepipost

๐Ÿ’ป Senior Software engineer โ†’ ๐Ÿฅ‘ Developer Relations guy โ†’ ๐Ÿค“ Building Community for Email Geeks ๐ŸŽŸ โ†’ Speaker ๐ŸŽ™

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