You can't avoid being tracked online. However, you can do things that make a difference. There is an easy way for advertisers, marketers, companies, and even scammers to track your email - and it only takes one tiny pixel.
What is pixel tracking? 📲
Pixel trackers are hidden in many of the emails you receive, but you can't see them. In technical terms, this microscopic pixel is a piece of computer code embedded within the body of an email, generally hidden within an image.
Pixel-tracking allows marketers, advertisers, and companies to collect data about you, for example:
- The operating system you are using and the number of times you have to open your email.
- The time when you opened the email
- Your IP address can provide information about your location
- Which device do you use to open the email
Detailed information is automatically returned to the sender without you having to click on any links or even respond. The tactic may feel intrusive, but it is legal and different from what hackers and scammers do.
What to look for in an email scam 📧
Pesky marketing emails are one thing, and we will discuss how to stop them. However, let's review the red flags you should send an email straight to the trash:
- A request for personal information is made.
- The display name and the 'From' address do not match.
- The 'From' address is similar to the name of a known business or contact, with one or two characters changed.
- You're being asked to click on a link or download a document or file you didn't request.
You won't discover a microscopic pixel in an email, but you can spot most of these clues.