Links In Spam E-mails Are Dangerous
There are more to spam links that meet the eye, spammers use links for various reasons, most of them with malicious intent.
All links in e-mail examples from the SHPAMEE Project are replaced with a link to this page to protect
our visitors from the dangers spam links. Below is a short list of reasons why spammers place links in their e-mails and why
users shouldn't click on them:
Spying on your browsing habits
The most obvious reason is to make money. These links point to sites with whom the spammer is affiliated. These links may seem harmless but many unethical affiliate programs track your browsing habits and invade your privacy. There is nothing wrong with collecting browsing habits anonymously, it becomes a problem when the affiliate site builds a complete profile about a specific visitor or associate browsing habits with a specific person without explicit consent from the visitor.
Tracking links are one of many methods used by spammers to monitor the performance of their spam campaigns.
Installing malware and stealing your personal information
A spammer can improve his tracking capabilities by installing malware on your computer. The spammer is then in a better position to learn your steps on the Internet. Malware can also be used to steal private information like passwords, social security numbers, credit card numbers, etc.
Verifying your e-mail address
Many unsubscribe links contain specific identifiers or serial numbers associated with your e-mail address, or many blatant spammers simply embed your e-mail address in the link. A server is set up to monitor clicks on these links, this enables the spammer to verify which e-mail addresses in his database are active and which recipients respond to his messages.
Phishing for information
Many scam e-mails contain links to fake websites posing as legitimate and well-known organisations. The intention of these sites is to commit identity theft or to break into your online banking and shopping accounts.