These days everyone is on the internet and with so many -group discount' websites with daily deals and online shopping becoming more common, your email inbox is no doubt filling up much more quickly with marketing emails.
It can be hard to track which companies you've agreed to receive promotions from and which are illegally spamming you, but there are some easy ways that you can spot irrelevant emails and protect yourself from spam.
Legitimate online marketing companies comply with a set of strict rules ensuring you get targeted advertisements about products and events you really want to know about. Any email you receive should comply with Australia's spam laws.
A commercial electronic message must meet the following conditions:
Consent: The message must be sent with the recipient's consent.
Identify: The message must contain accurate information about the person or organisation that authorised the sending of the message.
Unsubscribe: The message must contain a functional unsubscribe facility to allow the person to opt out from receiving messages from that source in the future.
If the email doesn't comply with the above, then you are dealing with a spammer.
Create a separate email address
While it might seem a hassle to have more than one email address, it is definitely worth considering. Just as you wouldn't have all your cousin's funny emails filling your work inbox, you probably don't want different companies' marketing emails taking over your personal inbox.
By creating an email address just for subscription emails you can control when you read through the newsletters and offers. More importantly, if you do have the unfortunate experience of your account being spammed by someone you can't unsubscribe from or block, you can easily delete that account and create a new one without affecting your personal contacts.
Use your sixth sense
Most email systems such as Yahoo, Gmail and Hotmail have spam filters that catch any unwanted emails. They also have features that allow you to block certain senders as well as report spammers. However if something does sneak through, it can just be a matter of using your sixth sense to know if the email doesn't feel right.
Look for tell-tale signs such as:
Big spelling mistakes. These can indicate that the writer of the email is from a non-English speaking country and the content may have been translated badly from the original version.
Strange domain names. If the email comes from a domain name with lots of numbers or strange words in it, there is a good chance it is spam.
It asks you to download something. If the email doesn't give much information away, you don't know the sender and it is asking you to download something, warning bells should be ringing.
Attachments such as .exe documents. While most junk filters will strip these away, opening attachments from unknown emailers is never a good idea.
being spammed by someone you can't unsubscribe from or block, you can easily delete that account and create a new one without affecting your personal contacts.
Phishing is when an email is sent out that looks as though it comes from a trusted company in an attempt to acquire personal information, such as passwords and login details, and this has been most common in the banking sector.
These are definitely ones to be wary of. Have you ever received an email which looks like it is from a completely legitimate company, like your own bank, however something doesn't feel quite right? Perhaps they are requesting that you confirm your account details or password with them or maybe the logo looks a little odd.
There are spammers out there who will make an email look like it is coming from a company you trust and links in their email will take you to a fake site. What you need to look for is whether the URL is somehow strange. There may be an extra letter or number in the domain name eg HSBC1.com.au or even hsdc.com.au. Just a small change in the URL will take you to a totally different website.
If you are sent to a website, look for that little padlock at the corner of the browser window. This padlock is a sign that it is a secure website, plus a bank will never request your account and password details in an email – that is a dead giveaway. Whenever you fill in any personal information make sure the URL has an 'S" just after 'HTTP".
Phishing emails can seem clever in the way that you may happen to receive an email about a problem with a payment on your latest purchase from iTunes and you may have just downloaded a new album which can lead you to believe what the spammer is saying. In truth, it is simply a coincidence and they have probably been sending millions of these emails out, with most people ignoring them as they haven't made a recent purchase.
Look for details and mistakes – the keys to spotting a spammer.
Well known scams
A great way of finding out if the email you have received is a scam is by checking out sites like www.scamwatch.gov.au which lists recent online scams that people have reported.
If you suspect you have been sent a scam, it pays to report it to sites such as this to help others in the same situation.
-By Jaysen Du Plessis, Head of Great Survey Sites
The Great Survey Sites are leaders in the collection of detailed demographic, lifestyle and purchasing data of consumers in Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom. This information provides advertisers, marketers and researchers with the ability to deliver highly targeted and efficient direct-to-consumer marketing communications.
The Great Survey Sites assist clients in cost effectively targeting, capturing and interacting with select groups of highly qualified consumers either online, offline or via mobile communications. All of the interactions between The Great Sites, consumers, advertisers, marketers and researchers are on an opt-in, permission basis.