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Hidden Text in Spam Emails

by Brett M. Christensen

I often receive emails that ask why random text is sometimes hidden within HTML spam messages. You may not even see these hidden messages unless you view the source code of the email. 

Depending on the configuration of your email client, the hidden text may be rendered visible when you reply or forward the message. Sometimes, highlighting empty space in the spam message will reveal the hidden text.

This hidden text is a common component of spam messages. Spammers include hidden text in their HTML emails in order to try to trick spam filters. A lot of spam filters are configured to detect messages that contain certain words, phrases or ways of structuring sentences that are commonly indicative of spam. If these indicators add up to a significant percentage of the message, the filter will block the message as spam.

The hidden text can effectively dilute the overall “count” of these spam indicators so that the message can sneak through the filter. Many recipients would not see the hidden text or even know it existed, but it is easily “seen” by the spam filtering software.

The buried messages usually consist of random words or phrases that have nothing to do with the visible content of the email. Sometimes, it is tempting to attach some intrinsic significance to the hidden messages. However, I believe that they are just unconnected words, letters and numbers tacked together by the spammer. The messages have no meaning of their own and are added only to fool spam filters. 

I have included some examples lifted from various spam emails below:

Subject: For many years radiators were made from brass or copper cores soldered to brass headers.

In 2003, Johnston retired from the CPS as a patrol sergeant. SAM believes sporting events which pit different nations against each other lead to racism.


Subject: Gonzalo Guerrero that have survived until today

The entire Los Alamos laboratory was reorganized in 1944 to focus on designing a workable implosion bomb. The west of the municipality is largely mountainous, with much of the western coastline rising steeply a little way inland.


ghastly climatology astigmatism
Go Web in 1898 stars battle
driving at? Forget it!
Everything to our topic Health world OFFBEAT
whats going on engine
Family Hold on in 1951 The thing is
Snowboarding Miss World
in 1814 in 1871 I am on a Spice Girls
don’t feel well in 1979
Absent Without Leave Red Herring

Importance Notice

After considerable thought and with an ache in my heart, I have decided that the time has come to close down the Hoax-Slayer website.

These days, the site does not generate enough revenue to cover expenses, and I do not have the financial resources to sustain it going forward.

Moreover, I now work long hours in a full-time and physically taxing job, so maintaining and managing the website and publishing new material has become difficult for me.

And finally, after 18 years of writing about scams and hoaxes, I feel that it is time for me to take my fingers off the keyboard and focus on other projects and pastimes.

When I first started Hoax-Slayer, I never dreamed that I would still be working on the project all these years later or that it would become such an important part of my life. It's been a fantastic and engaging experience and one that I will always treasure.

I hope that my work over the years has helped to make the Internet a little safer and thwarted the activities of at least a few scammers and malicious pranksters.

A Big Thank You

I would also like to thank all of those wonderful people who have supported the project by sharing information from the site, contributing examples of scams and hoaxes, offering suggestions, donating funds, or helping behind the scenes.

I would especially like to thank David White for his tireless contribution to the Hoax-Slayer Facebook Page over many years. David's support has been invaluable, and I can not thank him enough.

Closing Date

Hoax-Slayer will still be around for a few weeks while I wind things down. The site will go offline on May 31, 2021. While I will not be publishing any new posts, you can still access existing material on the site until the date of closure.

Thank you, one and all!

Brett Christensen,