Spam Trap

What is it?

What is it?

A "Spam Trap" is an email address created or repurposed to catch and identify unsolicited spam emails. Spam traps are used by internet service providers (ISPs), anti-spam organizations, and email security providers to monitor and filter out illegitimate or unwanted email traffic, helping to protect users from receiving spam messages in their inboxes.

Key points to remember

Key points to remember

  • Purpose: Spam traps identify and combat unsolicited spam emails sent by spammers and malicious actors. They act as decoys that attract spam messages, allowing email providers and security systems to detect and block spam sources.

  • Types of Spam Traps: Spam traps can be categorized into two main types: pristine and recycled. Pristine spam traps are email addresses that have never been used for legitimate communication and are created solely to catch spam. Recycled spam traps are former legitimate email addresses abandoned by their owners and repurposed as traps.


  • Indicators of Spam Activity: When an email is sent to a spam trap, the sender may be spamming, such as email harvesting, list purchasing, or sending unsolicited bulk emails. ISPs and email providers use spam trap hits as a signal to assess sender reputation and filtering decisions.


  • Consequences of Hitting Spam Traps: Sending emails to spam traps can have negative consequences for senders, including damage to sender reputation, email deliverability issues, placement in spam folders or blocklists, and potential blocking of email traffic by ISPs or anti-spam systems.


  • Prevention and Mitigation: To avoid hitting spam traps, senders should employ best practices for email list hygiene, including obtaining permission from recipients before sending emails, regularly cleaning and validating email lists, and avoiding purchasing or renting email lists from third-party sources.

Example of Use

Example of Use

  1. Monitoring Sender Reputation: ISPs and anti-spam organizations use spam traps to monitor the behavior and reputation of email senders. High volumes of spam trap hits can indicate poor sending practices or potential spamming activity.


  2. Filtering Email Traffic: Email providers and security systems utilize spam traps as part of their filtering mechanisms to identify and block spam emails before they reach users' inboxes, thereby protecting users from unwanted or harmful content.

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