Figure out which Online accounts are selling your email to spammers

By Lowell Heddings on September 27th, 2006

I am constantly infuriated by the amount of spam I get in my email account every day. To quote a friend of mine: “Honestly, this should be the number one issue in the world today. Forget declaring war on random countries, let’s declare war on spam, and institute the death penalty while we are at it!

I couldn’t agree more. So let’s start up a program to figure out who it is that is selling your email address to the spammers. We’ll start with a fresh new Gmail account, because they provide the feature that we are looking for, which is +plus addressing.

Essentially, plus addressing means if your email address is DONOTSPAMME@gmail.com, then you can also receive email on DONOTSPAMME+citibank@gmail.com.

So here’s the plan. For each and every one of your online accounts, you will change your email address to DONOTSPAMME+accountname@gmail.com, where DONOTSPAMME is your actual email name, and accountname is set to the account you are logging into.

For instance, I’ve got the following: (not actual addresses, just an illustration)

Geico: geekervongeekerson+geico@gmail.com

Citibank: geekervongeekerson+citibank@gmail.com

Newegg: geekervongeekerson+newegg@gmail.com

For this to work, you have to make sure that you don’t start flashing this account around. Don’t start posting on newsgroups or anything like that.

Now when you start getting junk mail on this new account, you should be able to immediately see who is selling your address, because it will show up as username+guiltyspammers@gmail.com

If you figure out who it is that is selling your email to spammers, drop a comment into the box below.

Lowell Heddings, better known online as the How-To Geek, spends all his free time bringing you fresh geekery on a daily basis. You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 09/27/06
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