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Junk Email - Answers To Common Questions
Where did they get my address from?
Your email address is available to others from many sources:
Effectively anyone who makes significant use of the Internet can become a target for junk mail.
Why did I receive it when it was addressed to somebody else?
Junk email will often have an address other than your own in the To: field. Sometimes this will be the name of a list on a remote server and sometimes it will be somebody else's address. This can cause confusion and give the impression that the email has been delivered to the wrong address. However, the To: field does not have to reflect the real delivery address as the mail system uses other means to identify the recipient. The situation is very similar for the From: field, usually to prevent the true sender of the email from getting any replies.
Why did the junk email appear to come from me?
Junk email will usually appear to be sent from someone other than the true sender. Sender addresses are normally set to bogus addresses or "throwaway" addresses on free email services and sender and recipient may also be set to the same address. The purpose in all cases is to prevent any error messages or replies from being sent to the actual sender. In rare cases, the sender is set to the address of an innocent 'victim'. This can cause problems as some people will complain to the sender address without checking the full headers to see where the email really came from.
How can I reduce the amount of junk email I receive?
Consider using more than one email address and use a 'public' one just for newsgroups and/or situations where you are asked to give an address but are not too bothered about receiving anything from that source. This could help limit the availability of your main, personal email details.
When filling in on-line forms always look for and complete any "data protection opt-out" boxes if you do not wish to be contacted regarding advertisements and promotions of any products and services. Otherwise, the information you provide may be disclosed to other organisations or used for marketing or other purposes which you might not wish to receive.
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