USA Today reports that because image-based spam tends to slip through the spam filtering cracks more than text based spam, "image-based spam accounts for 21% of all spam, compared with just 1% in late 2005."
Generally when you click spam, it verifies that your address is "real" and the amount of spam you get will multiply.
A few ways I avoid image-based spam:
- As usual, if the subject line or sender looks out of the realm of people I normally email with, I send the email directly to the junk / bulk mail folder.
- I never download images unless I know the sender. If you’re using Outlook, Thunderbird or other email software this may be set as the default option or you might have to specify to not download images by default to unknown senders.
- If you don’t know the sender AND there is an attachment, that’s often a good indicator that it’s spam. "Delete!"
- Discover your email software’s tools:
Whether you use mail software to download your mail or web-based mail, there are several useful options for detecting spam:
In Yahoo! Mail Plus, and mail software I do a search on the sender name or subject. I can see a summary of the email contents. If no message is not "found" in the search results or if the message is jibberish, I know it was a spam message. Then I delete it without opening.
Gmail lets you mouse over the sender’s name and shows you the actual "from" account name such as "firstname.lastname@example.org." That’s usually an instant giveaway.
Got other tricks you use?