Have you ever wondered how do spammers garner your e-mail address(es)? Well, give the following paragraph a read and you may be able to figure out who has been selling you out.
If you have a Gmail e-mail address and you frequently use it for online membership registrations, try the following trick next time when you type in your e-mail address:
- In the “Your e-mail” area, type in your Gmail e-mail address normally (I will use mine as an example, firstname.lastname@example.org)
- Just before the “@” symbol, type in the symbol “+” (In my case, email@example.com)
- Type in a tracker name (for example, the name of the website) just after the “+” sign (Using the same example, I might type jamushomepage+XYZcompany@gmail.com to track the “XYZcompany” website)
- Finish the registration and click “Submit”
The trick utilises a protocol called “Plus Addressing”. Using it to our benefit, we add a tracker to the e-mail supplied, in which only this particular website knows; you will still be able to send and receive e-mails from anyone using your untagged e-mail address. However, when new spam messages start to appear, take note of the recipient e-mail. If they are directed to that particular tagged e-mail address, you can be sure that the website concerned has leaked out some of your personal information to the spammers (e.g. if I start to receive spam messages that are directed to jamushomepage+XYZcompany@gmail.com, then there is a good chance that XYZcompany has leaked out my e-mail address). This trick will not prevent spam messages from stuffing up your inbox, but at least you can find out who has been doing the dirty business behind your back.
Keywords: Tracking spammer, Preventing spam, Who is spamming me?, Plus addressing, Tracking Gmail spammer