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How to stop email spam?

Pierre Kraus

Pierre Kraus

Business Analyst @Telios

What is spam and where does it come from?#


You open your inbox and receive a $1,000,000 winning lottery ticket and a notice from the FBI for fraud. Well, your email just got spam! Ray Tomlinson created emailing to leave messages to people and not mailboxes, it also revealed itself to be very efficient to reach many people in the shortest amount of time. Like kudzu (Asian vines), spam can take control over your inbox and transform your email management into an absolute nightmare. The term "spam" was invented in the 1980s and came from a Monty Python sketch set in a cafeteria, where Vikings would sing at the top of their lungs the name of processed meat and drown out the rest of the conversation. The first unsolicited messages date back to 1864 when telegraph lines were used to send dubious investment offers to wealthy Americans. Gary Thuerk, a marketing manager for the now defunct company Digital Equipment Corporation, sent the first modern spam on the ARPANET (Advanced Research Projects Agency Network) in 1978. He used an email to solicit 400 people to advertise his line of new computers - Pandora box was open!

Email remains the leading communication tool and shows growth potential despite the rise of chat apps and social media platforms:

  • 90% of Internet users (4.03 billion worldwide)
  • 306.4 billion emails were sent and received in 2020, with a forecast estimating an 18.6% increase by 2025 However, almost half of the email traffic (47.3%) accounts for spam. They come from advertisers and scammers.

How does spam impact your privacy?#

Email addresses often represent the key to unlock access to online services. The tradeoff for opening a direct line to your inbox is the tsunami of marketing emails now flooding your inbox.

Yet, you have to give up your key to access them and brace yourself to face the tsunami of marketing communications flooding your inbox. Advertisement emails contain hidden pixel trackers. These trackers are images invisible to the naked eye. Every image on the internet is stored on a server and is automatically downloaded by your computer browser. The computer’s image request let the server know when the image was downloaded. Therefore, when you open your email the hidden pixel tracker is downloaded and reveals to the sender:

  • The time you opened the email
  • Your location (IP address)
  • Your device data

The sender receives the data every time you open the email. In 2017, a study from One More Company (OMC), a computer software startup focused on improving email intelligence, revealed that 40.6% of the total number of emails (269 billion daily that year) sent were tracked. The harvested data is turned into marketing insight and sold to third parties. According to Richard Sierra, an American artist known for his minimalist sculptures, “The product of television. Commercial television is the audience”. When it comes to marketing companies, we are the product. Additionally, scammers actively target your personal email addresses with malicious emails to obtain your private data to steal your identity or money. They find your email addresses using different tactics:

  • A company sold your email without your knowledge
  • Purchasing email lists
  • Email harvesting using bots to scour the Internet
  • Data breaches

FBI's Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) reported a loss of $57 million to fishing schemes for individuals in 2019 alone. Business Email Compromise (BEC) resulted in more than a $1.7 billion loss.

Take control of your inbox#

Spam is either clogging your inbox or a potential threat to your personal information. Enter Telios on the fly alias generator! Create your unique namespace, your alias(es) to better manage your inbox and keep it free from spam.

Learn more about how Telios protects you from spam with its alias feature.