6 Strategies to Handle Fake and Spam Email Subscribers

By Regi PublicoAug 23, 2023

Your email list is expanding at an all-time high rate. And with this, the probability of receiving fake email subscribers also increases. That's why you have to be wary once you detect a sudden surge in subscribers, especially if they contain strange email addresses at first glance.

Spams can be identified by weird domain names, repeating email addresses, and numerical sequences. Utilizing a spam-filled database can seriously harm your reputation, making sending emails to legitimate contacts challenging. We know that repairing the damage is a time-consuming (and costly) process once done. However, there are effective strategies you can apply to detect and fight these fake and spam email subscribers. We listed them below.

What Is Email Spam?

Email spam or junk email is the practice of sending the bulk of unwanted emails to a list of subscribers. Sometimes actual people send these emails, but most of the time, they are automated by a bot, a collection of malware-infected machines under the control of a single attacker (the "bot herder"). They can also use text messages and social media platforms to spread spam.

It is no secret that spam emails can be bothersome, but people accept it as an inevitable outcome of email communication. While spam is irritating and, if not screened and routinely eliminated, can clog email inboxes and pose a threat.

Spammers that send spam via email frequently change their strategies and content to deceive potential victims into downloading malicious software, disclosing personal information, or donating money.

Spam emails nearly usually have a business purpose and are financially motivated. Spammers attempt to advertise and sell dubious goods while misleading recipients with exaggerated promises.

Who Is Most Prone to Spam Emails?

Free Trials

You'll likely provide a free trial if your product or platform is subscription-based. Free trials are great for customers to experience your product before purchasing. Unfortunately, these free trials are frequently abused.

Promotional Offers or Coupons for New Sign-Ups

You can encourage individuals to join your mailing list and generate more leads by providing individuals with coupons, discounts, or other unique offers. People might use these deals by spamming your email list, just like with free trials. It is particularly true if you don't thoroughly check the identities of those signing up for these offers. If you let users join by only providing their email, you won't know who they are. You can confirm that the user is real by requiring further identification, such as double opt-in or phone number authentication.

6 Strategies to Handle Fake and Spam Email Subscribers

Fake sign-ups are inevitable. Good thing there are strategies available to help you reduce risks, protect customer data, and maintain the integrity of your email list.


You've probably encountered CAPTCHA quite a bit while perusing the web. CAPTCHA can stop spam bots from accessing your lists since they can't read the content of images. You must manually identify any concealed objects (such as vehicles, trains, or stop lights) or words within a picture that are present in CAPTCHA.


Honeypot is a field added to a sign-up form but hidden from human users. Humans don't fill it out since they can't see it. This field in the code will be filled up by bots when they find it, marking them as spam on the spot.

OTP Verification

During subscription, OTP verification will validate email addresses by delivering a one-time password to their inbox. It's a double opt-in. To retrieve the verification code, the user will need to access their email account from the email and use it to validate their email address.

Multi-Factor Authentication

Multi-factor authentication can make it challenging for spambots to access your email lists as it links your email addresses and phone numbers. If people want to sign-up to your email marketing campaigns, they first need to go through several steps to authenticate their identification. You may also ask for specific details, like their credit card information, to reduce the number of people taking advantage of your free trials.

Social Login

Introduce a social login option for registration that use the identity-verification procedures of more established platforms like Google or Facebook. Users must enter their social platform accounts to subscribe to your list. Because organizations like Google already have a sophisticated procedure to confirm identities, this is one of the most effective ways to verify user identity.

Use Secure Sign-up Forms

You can use software to develop secure contact forms rather than setting up all the verification procedures mentioned. You may quickly incorporate customized forms you design using their sign-up form software into your website.

Bottom Line

Your automated email campaigns can suffer if your database is filled with spam email addresses. Before you begin sending out your advertisements, employ tools to clean up your list and get rid of those bots because a damaged domain reputation is difficult to repair. You can lessen spammers' influence on your automated email marketing by being aware of spam attacks and putting countermeasures before they occur.