How do I deal with spam emails?
What is spam and how did I get on a spam list?
Like the junk mail that is pushed through your letterbox, spam email is worthless information that you haven't asked to receive. It's very difficult to completely get rid of - our website asks for confirmation from guests before they submit an enquiry (to check they are a real person) and we also have our own spam tracking in place, but if someone is desperate to send a spam email, they will often find a way (for example, some 'businesses' hire real people to send hundreds of emails on their behalf).
Where does spam come from?
It's hard to say. The people that send out spam often cover their tracks to avoid being shut down by law enforcement agencies.
There are many ways that spammers collect email addresses. You should be aware that when you sign up to use a website or register a piece of software, that you might have agreed to be sent 'information emails' - always read the small print if you're unsure. Generally though, spam is email that you've not agreed to receive.
You need to be careful where you leave your email address - on websites, in newsgroup posts and when chatting online. However, you can still receive spam emails without even exposing your address, as it's common for spammers to guess potentially valid email addresses by taking a common username and adding valid domains (like hotmail.co.uk, or yahoo.com) to it.
The senders - spammers - usually get their hands on your email address by buying a list of addresses from someone else. The person they bought it from may have collected your email address legally, but when they sell it on they have little say in where it ends up.
Dealing with spam
As a general rule, never reply to a spammer or send a "remove from mailing list" request. This only confirms that your address is valid, and you'll probably get even more spam.
If you receive something that looks suspicious, err on the side of caution. You can search for the email address online to see if anyone else has reported the same issue, and, if you confirm that the address is indeed spam, you can always let the Action Fraud team know: http://www.actionfraud.police.uk