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Why do I receive emails that aren’t addressed to me?

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Do you receive emails that appear to be addressed to someone else, in that it is not addressed to your email account? Wondering who, what and why? Quite basically this is spam, it is common, and if you haven’t received them before now – you’ve been very lucky. Read on to find out the what and why…

You are most likely familiar with the BCC address field – when you can send a message to multiple emails, but other recipients cannot see any other email addresses in the list. It is commonly used as a way to keep email addresses private when sending to multiple people. Well, sad to say, spammers use it to.

So, when you receive an email that is addressed to someone else, most possibly your email address was used in the BCC field, along with many others. Why do they do that? It is just another way spammers can get through spam filters, and it is another way to get you to read the email rather than delete.

How did they get your email address to start with? Well the ways are endless:

  • You only need to enter your email address into a form and it can potentially be harvested by spammers, depending on the form’s security capability.
  • You might have your email address noted on your website – spammers use ‘software’ that scan webpages for email addresses and then add them to their spam list.
  • Possibly, they don’t even know that your email is valid and instead use a “dictionary attack”, where they will send out to commonly used email names such as admin, info, office, staff, peter, jane and so on…
  • And you know those “chain emails” that you send on to your friends and family, because they really do have a special message that you couldn’t possibly speak out yourself – well spammers also use those as a means for getting email addresses to send spam to (some spam experts are skeptical about this, as spammers have way more intelligent means of harvesting emails – but noone can discount it completely)

Unfortunately, spam is here to stay (for now) so don’t fret when you get one of those emails, just delete it and move on to the next one.

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