How Emails Are Used To Track You, And How To Avoid It

Email tracking is not a new trick on the internet, it has been used in booth good and bad intentions. Email tracking has been used by email marketers, spammers and individuals either to validate email addresses, to know physical location of recipient or to discover if they have made it over spam filters.
People should be aware that they don’t have to install anything attached with the email for them to be tracked. Email trackers DO NOT NEED those old ways, just the usual way you used to open emails is enough for them to track you down, no cooperation needed from your part.
Since emails are working very simple, emails are basically sluggish or simply say they are not executable which means that emails cannot make computer run code. There is only few tricks that email tracking apps can use to track you down, the vice versa is also true; it’s very easily to drip from this their trap.
Emails tracking apps work in cooperation with your email client, the good news is that you can control your own email client the way you want it to treat you! Yes that’s the Good News!!
When someone wants to track you usually do two things; first they send an email with read recipient or embedded image. Remember that read recipient are embedded in the email header, sometimes different email client will not treat read recipients request as intended, but if it does it will ask users if they want to let the sender know that they’ve read the email.

You know how to bounce the first trap, you have been warned!

The second method that you are likely to be trapped in is by embedded images. These emails are composed in HTML in which they will allow to reference image in remote server which sender has access to it. When you open an image embedded with an email, your email client sends HTTP request to the remote server to load the image.
From this mechanism, a spammer can give each email an image with different URL in a way that they can tell which email recipients has opened their email.
You should also understand that all HTTP request carries your IP address which has geographical location. Plus other important information like browser you are using and your operating system. It’s simple to escape from this trap also, simply don’t download images embedded with emails.

You can also force your emails to be on plain text or to be received in HTML with no images loaded, this can be achieved by using your email client. Most of email clients are coming with these features to download the images if you decide you want them.
However I should mention here that the giant Gmail does loads remote content automatically unless you take back control of your images.

How to STOP your email client to load remote contents:

Android Gmail app

  1. Tap the menu button
  2. Tap Settings
  3. Tap on your email address
  4. Scroll to the bottom of the screen
  5. Tap Images
  6. Select Ask before showing.

Gmail

  1. Click the Settings icon
  2. Stay in the General tab
  3. Scroll down to the Images section
  4. Choose Ask before displaying external images
  5. Click Save Changes.

iOS Mail

  1. Click the Settings icon
  2. Click Mail, Contacts, and Calendars
  3. Toggle Load Remote Images to off.

Outlook.com

  1. Click on the Settings icon (cog)
  2. Click More Email settings
  3. Click Filters and Reporting under Junk Email
  4. Select Block attachments, pictures, and links for anyone not in my safe senders list.

Yahoo Mail

  1. Click the Settings icon
  2. Click Settings
  3. Click Security
  4. Locate Show images in email
  5. Select Never by Default.

Just to list those common ones, if you have question or you need my help in anyway; please comment!

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