Spammers collect email addresses from a variety of sources. Such as:-
- Automated programmes that crawl the Internet collecting email addresses
- Online forums
- Enticing people to enter their details on fraudulent websites.
- Hacking into legitimate websites to gather users’ details.
- Fake spam stopping services.
- By planting computer viruses that collect your email contacts
- Fake lotteries
- Chain lotteries
Using automated software to generate email addresses is another common method they use. e.g. take a list of all popular first names and all popular surnames then combine the two and add on one of the popular email providers domains such as yahoo.co.uk and you have a huge number of possible email addresses that you can sell. To see if the email addresses exist, they just send them an email. A failure message tells them the address doesn’t exist and it is dropped. All of the others are then proven email addresses.
There is a large market for bulk email addresses so they can always sell your details to other spammers and scammers.
There are endless means by which they get our email addresses and once on the spam lists it’s impossible to get the removed (except by deleting the email address and starting again).