How Forwarding Emails can Increase Spam
A hidden, but non-trivial side effect of forwarding emails is that
your email address is likely to be forwarded along with it and will
probably end up in a large number of email in-boxes in diverse
regions of the planet. Once the forwarded email begins its journey
from your computer, to the Rest Of The World, you have absolutely
no control over how many times the email gets forwarded and, of
course, how many times your private email address gets forwarded
right along with it. Your email address is likely to end up, not
only in the private in-boxes of complete strangers, but also on
mailing lists, news groups, online forums and the hard copy someone
printed off to show Great Uncle Vinny. Sooner or later, it is
possible, even probable, that your email address will cross the
in-box of your friendly neighbourhood spammer. Spammers must love
emails that have been forwarded a number of times. For them, the
dozens of valid addresses that such emails have collected upon their
journey through cyberspace must seem an enticing bonus. This is
certainly not the only way that spammers get hold of email
addresses, but I do believe that it is a significant factor.
So, what can you do to minimize the risk of being added to a
spammers list via this method?
Well, as a courtesy, you can make sure to remove any existing
from the headers before forwarding the email.
However, this will not stop your
email address from escaping
into the wilds of cyberspace.
You could include a polite note at the top of the email asking
that recipients "Help Stop Spam: Please remove email addresses
before forwarding". This could be effective, as it would
perhaps help to remind and educate people about the issue.
Especially if your little reminder stayed intact and legible
for subsequent forwardings. On the other hand, you couldn't be
sure that people would actually carry out this request.
The method I favor takes a little more time than simply clicking
the "Forward" button but is probably the most effective. If I'm
sending on an email that I suspect will "keep on keeping on",
I copy the body of the email, paste it to a new email and send
it using a throw-away "secondary" account. If I'm sending it
to multiple recipients, I use the Blind Carbon Copy
facility of my email client to further
protect their privacy.
The links below lead to other articles and tutorials about protecting the privacy of your email recipients:
Article by Brett M. Christensen