We have all been receiving interesting powerpoint slides and jokes from friends and the occasional “Facebook is shutting down” emails. I have always wondered why such emails were conceived, and who would spend hours designing intricate PowerPoint slides which take hours to design just to make me smile. These messages represent a carefully crafted email harvesting technique. They promote email spam, and even hacking of your accounts.
The answer is outlined below:
Why are Spam Messages Written?
[pullquote align=”right”]Spammers take advantage of less experienced users and fool them into publishing their address book.[/pullquote]
The answer was right in front of our eyes the whole time. Before we get to the actual powerpoint, we always have to scroll down through hundreds of email addresses of people who the mass message has been forwarded to. Those addresses is what it is all about. Mailing lists trade on the black markets for thousands of dollars a piece. By just copying the first fifty lines of such an email anyone can get rich.
Such spammers take advantage of less experienced users who will believe such rumours and who will just hit the “Forward” button, paste in all their contacts and make the sender of this message a very happy and financially “well off” person.
Such mails are based on the pyramid scheme, where one node is on top and then the next node has more nodes and it goes on exponentially.
How do mass messages affect You?
Well, in many ways. First of all, your address becomes available to spammers. And the line between a spammer and a hacker is very thin. By looking up your Facebook, LinkedIn or Yahoo address, the culprit will get your name and other pieces of information about you.
Ok, I will stop forwarding them. Am I secure now?
The answer to that is NO. As long as someone sends you such emails, your email address is made public. You just prevented it from getting even worse. The only thing we can do is be careful of how we send mails and inform our friends about this threat to our privacy.
How to forward mass messages safely
[pullquote align=”right”]Insert the addresses to which you want to send an e-mail in the BCC field to keep safe from spammers.[/pullquote]
The purpose of this article is not to get you to stop forwarding mass messages, but to get you to respect you contacts’ privacy when doing so. The following will show you how to make sure that you don’t unwillingly submit your friends email addresses on spammers mailing lists.
If you want to forward an email to all your contacts, do it without endangering their privacy. You can send an email to multiple contacts without them seeing all the addresses that the mail was sent to, using BCC or Blind Carbon Copy. Here are the steps
1. Copy the Content
Make sure you only copy the content without all the addresses. That will ensure that you do not unwillingly cause more damage to those users.
2. Put your address in the TO: Field
3. Put all your Contact’s Addresses in the BCC Field
You can find out more about how BCC (blind carbon copy) works at this link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blind_carbon_copy