What is Spam?

Spam Flying

Spam is difficult to define. In fact, there is no clear definition. Generally accepted is the definition that spam is like junk mail; you get it whether you want it or not. Does that make it spam? Is it spam if it tries to sell you something? Is pornography spam? Are personal jokes from friends considered spam? What about unsolicited political messages? We all recognize spam when we see it, but the truth is that what is spam to one person may not be spam to another. An e-mail that is considered spam at work may not be considered spam at home. The most prevalent definition seems to be “unsolicited commercial e-mail” or UCE, but there is no definition that is universally accepted. Spam is unsolicited because you didn’t ask for it, you may not want it, or you aren’t interested in it. Spam usually advertises something—tries to sell you something, offers get-rich-quick schemes or sells something cheap. Perhaps it presents an investment opportunity or business deal or hypes some health and diet scam. It attempts to sell something, sometimes fraudulently, and it comes through electronic mail.

Let’s face it. Spam works. The spammer’s goal is to get around any counter measures. Mailing lists are often built from directory harvests, by stealing or purchasing Internet mailing lists, or by searching the website contact lists for addresses. The cost to the spammer to send the email is negligible; therefore, spam is here to stay.

Help with Spam
Should I report spam? <Learn More
The Difficulty of Catching Some Types of Spam <Learn More>  
Avoiding Spam <Learn More>  
Fighting Spam <Learn More>   
Bogus System Messages <Learn More>  
Phishing Scams <Learn More