Spam traps are email addresses that have been abandoned for a long time but are still actively tracked. They may also be new email addresses specially created to catch spammers.
Anti-spam organizations, ISPs, and other groups are known to use certain email addresses to find people who send emails to outdated contacts or contacts who have not opted-in for such messages. Such email addresses are called spam traps.
Spam traps mimic the regular email addresses – they are created from old email accounts that have been abandoned by the original owners. While fresh spam traps are constantly created, it is not attached to or controlled by any real human. Therefore, such email addresses do not sign up for email marketing or generate clicks or open when messages are sent to them.
Here is how spam traps get in an audience:
The old addresses from which spam traps are derived could already be in your audience. So, those email addresses on your list that are unengaged, stale, or not actively managed may turn into spam traps.
Spam traps are most likely to be found in third-party contact lists – either rented or purchased. A large number of these addresses are sourced off the web, usually from unverified publicly-available information.