Spam FAQs
You are in: surefish > help > spam faqs
Date: 6 December, 2010


Weight-loss programmes, get-rich quick schemes, physical enhancements, cheap loans, 'unmissable' deals and pornography. Unsolicited, unwanted and often unpleasant emails. In a word, Spam.

Why do I get spam?

The simple answer is that you get spam because you have an email address. Spam now accounts for two out of every five emails sent and it's a growing problem.

It's impossible to stop everything. To do so would mean using a level of filtering that would also stop many legitimate and wanted emails from reaching you.

Spammers send many millions of emails a day. They do so because it is a very cheap form of mass-marketing, and there are enough suckers out there to make it a profitable one too.

Who are the spammers?

At the time of writing it's reckoned that 90% of the junk email in Europe and the USA is sent by just 200 individuals. They use legal loopholes and 'offshore' hosting to evade the authorities attempts to clamp down on them.

For more information on who these people are, see the Register Of Known Spam Operators (ROKSO), at

How do I stop spammers getting my email address?

Spammers use many methods to gather email addresses.

Some, such as 'dictionary attacks' on mail servers, basically theft of private details, are beyond your control.

Others you can prevent. Favourite places for harvesting addresses are chat rooms, web pages, newsgroups, message boards, chain emails and email directories.

The lesson is protect your email address. Treat it like your telephone number, and be careful where you give it out:

• Use a separate screen name in chat rooms or in message boards
• If you must for sign email petitions or post to a message board using an email account, get a disposable address to use, such as a hotmail account
• If you do post your address, replace letters with human-readable equivalents

What's the best way to deal with spam?

If you get it, delete it. NEVER reply to, or forward spam. This will only confirm that your email address is valid and get you on to yet more lists.

What about anti-spam software?

There are several anti-spam products available. While we don't recommend any one, these are some you may like to look at:

For Windows, 30 day free trial, $29.95 to buy

For Windows and Linux

Free download version

What's the legal position with unsolicited email?

As of October 2003 spamming is effectively illegal in the UK and Europe.

Under the EU Privacy and Electronic Communications Directive, unsolicited mails may only be sent to individuals for direct marketing purposes 'with their prior consent' or where there is an existing relationship.

Links for further information

Spam laws

And for those who might be interested in SPAM Chopped pork and ham

SPAM - the official UK website

Back to Help index

© Christian Aid - the Christian community website from Christian Aid

Christian Aid is a member of the