Should I purchase Photoshop from a Spam Email? :: Digital Photo Secrets

Should I purchase Photoshop from a Spam Email?

by David Peterson 8 comments

Every time I look in my spam folder, I see a lot of "Buy CS3" or "Buy Adobe Software" email. I'm sure you have seen the same email that sell software for less than 10% of the regular price.

It seems like a great deal - so should you buy from these companies?

My answer is a resounding NO. Here's why.

The Software is Pirated

Prices that are too good to be true usually are. If you see software with a retail price of $1,000 selling for less than $100 it is most likely a pirated copy of the software. You are receiving an illegal copy of the software and none of the money you purchase goes to the original software creator.

Because you have a pirated copy of the software, you can not access any of the usual technical support services or make a warranty claim. And in most countries you are committing a crime with the purchase.

But it gets even worse than that.

You Give Away Your Bank Passwords Too

A lot of time the software you purchase (or in some cases download for free) comes with an unwanted and hidden extra in the form of a trojan horse. This trojan software sits undetected on your computer and watches what you do. The next time you use Internet Banking, or purchase anything online, the program will scan your password or credit card number and send that to a hacker. They will quickly empty your bank account or credit card account leaving you to pick up the pieces.

Other malicious trojans can take control of your computer (again without you knowing) and use your computer and your Internet connection to send out thousands of spam email to other people.

You can't be safe even if you have virus protection software. The trojans scan for this software and disable it when they first run - so you are no longer protected.

So the best line of defence is not to download or run these programs. Ever. Even if you uninstall the program, the Trojan stays and keeps watching everything you do.

How To Be Safe

If a deal looks too good to be true, it probably is. If you want to make sure you can contact the software manufacturer (like Adobe for CS3), give them the website name and the price they are selling for and ask them if this is a real supplier.

Cheaper Alternatives

Some people argue that because the software is too expensive (and you wouldn't have purchased anyway) you are not hurting the manufacturer by pirating.

If you can't afford to purchase the software (and let's face it, Adobe CS3 is very expensive), there are always other options. The Open Source movement has lots of free software like Open Office (a Microsoft Office replacement) and Linux. There are cheaper image editing programs too:

  • Adobe has their own Adobe Elements 6 which is a cut down version of PhotoShop CS3 for around $100. Honestly, it does almost everything that most photographers want to do.
  • There is even a free version of Photoshop online called Adobe Photoshop Express
  • Other online and free editing programs include Flickr and Picasa
  • And for a heavy-duty and completely free piece of image editing software, try the Gimp - it can be hard to learn but is every bit as powerful as Photoshop CS3.

So be aware of those software email - they may be cheap but you can end up paying lots more than you bargained for.

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  1. George Hellie says:

    Gimp is good but for one thing doesn't support raw format and when I try and download the files for it to be able to support raw files it won't work there is always a file missing on my computer and when I download that file then it's another and so on, other than that it's preety good for free.

  2. John Hooton says:

    In terms of value for money, time and effort, my list is as follows.
    Professional Portrait Pro (for portraits only)
    Adobe Lightroom 3 (often, this all that's needed and can do so much more, such as create a web gallery in a single click)
    Adobe Photoshop Elements (great value for the reasons David has explained)
    Free software is OK but you are on your own and can't get the support and tutorials like you can for paid products.

  3. JimL says:

    I own Ps3. I bought a used copy of Ps, on ebay, in the original box, bundled with the upgrade for less than half the price. I receive full Adobe support. As long as there are physical, factory sealed, products involved, I figured it was safe enough.

  4. Grahme Perkins says:

    I saw a real good offer for Photoshop CS3 and when I replied and tried to buy it . Filled out the form nothing happened . Since this time I have lots of porn spam mail . The software was an acronym for erection dysfunction and with this software ( Porn or Viagra ) this software problem will disappear . I own CS3 legally brought form Adobe .

  5. jacobson says:


    and another alternative : photofiltre :

    there are the full (not free) and the older (free) versions
    both exists in english en french with several guides to downloads

  6. Chris says:

    Yes, but you have to understand that it is "unofficial" so Adobe will not support it. The low cost has to have some disadvantages.

  7. Chzyphoto says:

    Corel Paint Shop Pro Photo XI and X2 are equvelant to CS3 at much lower price. Basically the same program and same features and capabilities for editing images. The "how to" videos found on youtube are applicable also as the commands and procedures are very similar if not exactly the same.

  8. Mark says:

    Another cheaper alternative to CS3 is GIMP which is free under the GNU license. There is a version for Windows which works well. It can be found here on the offical GIMP website:

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