What’s the difference between spam emails and legitimate marketing?
Spam and marketing messages, sometimes called “junk mail,” both represent emails that may clutter your inbox. But there’s one difference: permission.
Generally, legitimate marketing emails are sent by businesses once you opt in. Through these emails, you may subscribe to a newsletter, sign up for services, read members-only content, enter contests, or share the message via email or social media. Companies that send out emails have to comply with the CAN-SPAM Act, which was signed into law in 2003. When you no longer want to receive the marketing emails, you can click an unsubscribe link in the message.
Spam emails are sent without permission and seldom contain an unsubscribe link, unless it’s a link that may be embedded with malware. Spam messages usually come from an illegitimate email address, contain explicit or illegal content, use scare tactics, contain typos and wrong information, and are sent in bulk from an anonymous sender.
While not all spam emails are a scam, many of them are sent with malicious intent.
Common spam email security threats
Spam emails are annoying enough, but some of them can put your digital safety at risk. Some spam messages contain viruses, malware, and other cyberthreats. Here are a few to watch for.