Spam is defined as unsolicited email, usually sent in bulk. If the sending party does not have any affiliation with you, then it is safe to consider the email as spam. Spam exists in many forms. On one side of the spectrum spam is relatively benign, where the sender is trying to sell you some product or gimmick (ie: weight-loss, get rich quick schemes, "health" products, etc.). Those types of spam are usually classified as "offer spam." On the darker side of the spectrum, the criminal will attempt to acquire your personal information. The usual motivation for this is identity fraud. For more information also see our spam FAQ page.
United States and Canada Spam Laws
Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography And Marketing Act of 2003 (CAN-SPAM) was signed into law as a national U.S. standard for the sending of commercial e-mail.
Canada's Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL) created new requirements that apply to any commercial conduct within Canada, including marketing emails and other electronic threats.
Types of Spam
Common types of spam include:
- Nigerian 419 Scams
- I need your help to move millions of dollars from who knows where, to your country.
- Phishing Scams
- Methods where the victim is tricked into divulging personal and/or financial information.
- Directory Harvesting Attack
- Dirty trick spammers use to figure out what addresses exist at a particular domain.
- Virus, Malware, Ransomware
- A broad term referring to a malicious program designed to take control of your computer to steal information on it, record your keystrokes, encrypt your data and hold it for ransom, etc.
- Meds Spam
- Advertisements for male enhancement, narcotic meds, prescription drugs with no prescription, etc.
There are several other types for spam, the ones listed above are the most common forms.