Commercial AdvertisementsTechnically, any unsolicited bulk messages sent indiscriminately are considered spam. This includes when legit websites and companies that you use send out advertisements, newsletters and other junk messages. Most websites these days ask you if you'd like to be included in their communications however some will automatically add you to their mailing list simply for signing up for their site.
Tip: Take a minute to create a free secondary email address for use casually around the web. Use this email address when signing up for non-essential websites so the potential for spam doesn't end up in your primary email inbox.
Anti-Virus SpamNo one wants a virus so when victims receive emails saying that their computer is infected, some will believe the claim out of fear. Victims think they're downloading security software but they are actually infecting their computers with nasty viruses. To get rid of the virus, the software demands cash to magically clean up the virus it just installed.
Tip: Acquire and use a comprehensive anti-virus system from a trusted company. Many great free and paid versions are available for all operating systems. Having your computer covered means there's no reason to ever download any other random system that appears in your email, real or fake.
Chain LettersWe all have that annoying relative who constantly sends us recycled jokes, funny photos or those sensational claims about President Obama. Despite coming from a friend or family member, this too qualifies as spam (and can be ridiculously obnoxious.) So if Crazy Uncle Ray sends you a message with a hundred lines of forwards at the top, be warned that it's likely junk you've seen before or plain old nonsense.
Tip: Create a folder or filter within your mail interface to put all of those inane messages in one spot, out of your main inbox, out of sight and out of mind.
Political or Terrorist SpamPart scare tactic and part attempt to steal personal information, this type of email spam appears to be from a politician or well-known government office, such as the FBI, claiming that you're in danger. To clear up the threat, the email asks the victims to fork over personal information and sometimes cash. While rarely does an actual threat ever exist, the trick does get people to volunteer their personal information to untrusted sources.
Tip: If you receive something like this, don't panic, but also don't reply. Instead, forward it to the organization from which it claims to be. The office will be able to determine if it's real or fake plus also use the email to better fight similar scams in the future.
Porn SpamPornography is a huge business around the globe, used by a large percentage of the population and a leading source of malicious content. Porn spammers harvest or purchase email addresses of people, send out raunchy advertisements with plenty of T and A, then direct victims to adult sites stacked with the virtual versions of STDs.
Tip: Just as you'd research any other product or service before using it, do a bit of investigating before visiting, joining or subscribing to adult sites. Many are clean (in terms of malware) and some even free, while others not so much.
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