If you’re fed up with your Gmail inbox being swamped by a daily barrage of spam emails from companies you have never heard of, there’s a very simple way of finding out how these firms may have targeted your account. A simple trick has been posted online, via the team at Gadget Hacks, which allows Gmail users to find out exactly who has been sharing their address with others.
Next time you head online to buy something or sign up for a service and are forced to enter your email address there’s a neat little way of seeing what then happens to your personal data.
All you need to do is type the first part of your Gmail address into the email field but then add a + sign and give it a unique name. Once you’ve done that you should finish things with the usual @gmail.com.
For example, if you are signing up to a Facebook account you would give the social network the address [email protected]
It might sound like an odd idea but the reason this works is that Gmail ignores all letters that fall between the + and @ sign meaning you can add any extra details between these characters.
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Should a firm then hand over these details to anyone else you’ll know exactly what has been going on due to that unique identifier you added.
As Gadget Hacks explains, firms can make money by selling email addresses on to marketing companies and because your email address always looks identical you’ll have no idea who has been spilling the beans about your data.
If you are getting unwanted messages you can try and unsubscribe as all marketing messages should offer this option.
If that doesn’t work then the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) can sometimes help.
On its website, the ICO states “If you have received a spam email please report it to us.
“We will use the information you have provided to identify, investigate and take action against organisations that are not following the rules around direct marketing.”
So, next time you are asked to tap in your Gmail address to sign up to a service then give this has a try as it may reveal some interesting insights into what is happening to your data.
News of this hack comes as Google has announced that it is offering Gmail users a very nice boost that couldn’t have come at a better time. The US tech firm has just announced that it’s extending its unlimited free video calls, via Google Meet, until June 30th. That means all Gmail fans can now carry on chatting online with friends and family without fear of being cut off mid-sentence.