There is no denying that spam emails are annoying — even more so if it’s happening repetitively. You already had a rough day at work, and you don’t want to see that same email asking you to claim a $100,000 prize you won. You’re pissed, and you want to write back an angry email.
The aftermath of telling the spammer off can be devastating. Firstly, it will not stop the spam emails, but it will only motivate the spammers. Replying to a spam email confirms that your email address is active. Additionally, you risk leaking personal information to the attacker.
So, what can you do instead? What are other potential risks of replying to spam email? Let’s discuss.
5 Risks of Responding to Spam Emails
Leaking personal information
If you take a closer look at an email, you will be able to reveal plenty of personal information from the email header alone. And if you, an average user, can find it, cyber-scammer indeed can with their tools and techniques. The email header reveals three primary information – sender, subject, and sending route. An email can be traced back to the point of origin across different servers. The recipient can even use geo-location to reveal –
- Your age
- Your phone number
- Your approximate location or sometimes even home address
- Your marital status
- Your estimated home value
If your reply includes a little personally identifiable information, it could jeopardize online security for yourself and others connected to you. For example, most people include full names and personal signatures, sometimes even corporate positions and organization names, in their emails.
If your response to the spammer reveals personal information like this about yourself, the spammer can use them to design a spear-phishing attack targeting you. They can find more information about you by looking up your social media accounts or work profile. Additionally, they can guess your password based on the personal data that you just revealed to them. They can also use the data to run an organised attack on your organisation. If they access your contact list, they can send phishing emails to your contact pretending to be you by duplicating your replying style.
Further spread of your email address
Do you know what happens when you send that angry email to the spammer? It just lets them know that this is an active email. It motivates them to spam you even more now that they know you are receiving them. They can also sell your address to other spammers as you have proven to be a valuable contact to them. As a consequence, you might get a flood of spam emails in your inbox.
Future phishing attacks
When you respond to a spammer, you confirm that their email has reached you. Using this data, they can figure out how to avoid spam filters and what email format is most likely to get to you. Basically, using your response to spam you better. Cyberattackers can use psychological techniques to manipulate you into doing illicit activities, compromising your employer and yourself by harvesting behavioral clues.
Viruses and malware
Email link or an attachment in a spam email can download a virus or spyware onto your computer. And they can be placed cleverly all over the email that you can click on by mistake when replying. The spammer can take control of your device and access your data using spyware and viruses.
How to Reduce Spam Emails?
Next time you get pissed at a spammer, calm yourself. Instead of telling the spammer off, head over to Sniff Email. Sniff Email is an online platform that will sniff out your email address from anywhere on the web. It searches 20+ search engines and social media sites simultaneously. It will provide one neatly formatted report outlining all search results regardless of platform. You can use their info on your email visibility to remove it wherever it exists.
But how will it affect your spam email?
Well, where did the spammer find your email address in the first place? That’s right — from places where it was exposed already. Using Sniff Email, you can cut off the spammer at the source. It takes only a few seconds to obtain a search result on this platform. So, head over to Sniff Email to win the battle against your spammer the right way.