What is Spam?

What is spam, and what types are there?

We all have received spam emails or messages but do we know what spam is? And why is it a threat to our devices?

So read on to learn about it, the different types of spam, and how we protect ourselves against it.

What is spam?

It can be described as an unwanted, unsolicited digital communication that gets sent out in bulk. Typically, it is sent via emails, but it can also be sent via phone calls, text messages, or social media.

Types of spam

Spammers use a different form of communication to send unwanted messages in bulk. Mostly, they are marketing messages peddling unsolicited goods. Others can spread malware, trick an innocent person into divulging personal information or blackmail you to pay to get out of the trouble. Below we have listed down several types of spam to watch out for.

1. Phishing emails

Cybercriminals send phishing emails to everyone, hoping to hook a few of them. The goal of a phishing email is to trick people into giving out sensitive information like banking credentials, log-in details, etc.

2. Tech support scams

With a tech support scam, the spammer indicates a technical problem in the message and asks you to reach out for tech support by clicking a link or calling on a phone number. Usually, these messages claim to be from large technology companies like Microsoft, etc.

Spoofed emails mimic a legitimate sender by asking you to take a certain action. Well-planned spoof emails contain similar branding and content from a well-known enterprise such as Apple or Western Union. Some of the spoof messages include:

3. Email Spoofing

  • Payment request for an outstanding invoice
  • Request to reset passwords
  • Request to verify account
  • Request to verify an unauthorized purchase
  • Request to update billing info

4. Calls and texts

You must have received a robocall once in your lifetime -that’s call spam. Text message or “smishing “– when an unknown sender asks you to click on an unknown link – that’s spam as well. In both cases, the spammer urges the victim to perform some sort of action to scam. You can easily block such calls and text messages by reporting on your Android or iPhone. Also, many mobile carriers give you an option to report.

How can I stop it?

While it may not be easy to avoid spam altogether, but there are steps you can take to protect yourself from getting phished from an email or message:

  • Always cross-check the sender’s email address with the company’s domain name. The spam email address can be different from the domain such as for apple.com, the email might be example@appl1.com.
  • A legitimate company always addresses its customers with personalized greetings, but spam emails can be without that. So look out for emails with missing personal greetings, especially for messages from companies you do regular business with.
  • Grammatical errors are another thing to look out for. A message containing poor grammar, spelling mistakes, and punctuation errors can indicate a red flag that an email could be a scam.
  • Always be careful when downloading or opening an attachment unless you are expecting an email with attachments. Anti-malware software can help in scanning malicious files and prevent download.

How to report?

Most email providers filter out spam messages, but if a message makes it through your inbox, you can report it. Even for spam calls and text messages, carriers allow the users to report spam. Also, you can block the sender when reporting the message. Reporting spam further helps the email providers and carries on getting better in detecting spam.

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