Why am I receiving Spam?

Spamming works partly because advertising messages are received and the advertised products are purchased, but other types of spam are also used to spread viruses or to cheat recipients with empty promises. Mailings would stop overnight if it were no longer possible to make money by spamming.

The cost to the spammer is extremely low. Also, the effort required of the spammer can be reduced as there are programs which automatically send millions of e-mails throughout the entire world.

Today four out of five e-mails sent are spam; this unnecessarily congests the electronic mail system and reduces its usefulness. In addition, combating spam is very costly.

Origin of addresses

Valid addresses of active users are valuable to spammers and they have several means of obtaining them:

  • Spammers buy address lists from companies which have made it their business to collect addresses or which sell on their customer data or data from other spammers.
  • They search the internet using special software programs, known as harvesters, which filter out e-mail addresses from member directories of various services from online providers, such as forums, newsgroups and chat rooms.
  • They generate addresses by randomly combining common forenames and surnames.
  • They steal customer data from the databases of other companies.

As far as SMS spamming is concerned:

  • Advertising is often sent out randomly in massive quantities to entire blocks of numbers (079, 078, 076).
  • Your mobile telephone number may have been obtained when you replied to questionnaires or took part in games or competitions.

In Switzerland it is forbidden to use a false sender for mass sending of advertising, so as not to receive error messages and complaints. It is also forbidden to exploit computers of unsuspecting third parties to conceal the addressing resources used by the sender and display instead those of the innocent third party or a non-existent address.

Specialist staff
Last modification 01.04.2012

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