089: Why do I get so much spam? Am I being targeted? Did Mines sell or distribute my email address?
Mines does not, and will not, sell or distribute your email address to outside parties. But spammers can get your email address from many sources. Most commonly they use Internet robots ("bots") to search the web for email addresses. These can be gathered from a variety of Internet sources, including:
- Public or private web pages where your address has been published
- Message boards, discussion groups, or newsgroups
- Online directories, search engines, or other online sources
You may also give away your address in a web form by signing up for a service, downloading a ring tone, app, or game, or purchasing products online.
Disreputable organizations sell CDs, DVDs, or downloads containing millions of email addresses harvested in this fashion. Some legitimate corporations sell the email addresses of people who do business with them and those buyers may, in turn, sell your address to others or distribute it to their marketing partners. You should always check privacy policies before sharing your personal information.
The more public your email address becomes, the more likely you are to get spam. If you buy products or use services available through the Internet, you may consider having a public email address that you use for such transactions and a private address that you save for private correspondence.
Finally, when you receive a spam email there may be an opt-out link by which you will supposedly be removed from a mailing list. In some cases, usually when large, reputable companies are involved, your request to unsubscribe is honored. In other cases such requests generate more spam because you have confirmed that your email address is live, which is worth more to the spammer when they sell it to others.