Understanding Different Types Of Spam

If you frequent the internet, you’re already aware of how dangerous of a place it can be. With a single click, you could unknowingly surrender truckloads of sensitive data. If you accidentally click the wrong link, you can easily infect your computer with a virus. While the immediate threats of the internet are somewhat obvious to more experienced users, some aren’t as overt to inexperienced users. Some of the most surreptitious and frustrating of online foes is spam. While spam is typically categorized as junk mail, it can take the form of several different malicious online scams and frauds. All of these types are malicious in nature and can easily be very detrimental to your online browsing if encountered or left untreated. In order to avoid spam in the first place, you have to take precautionary measures. In the event you do encounter spam, here are a few of the most common types you should keep in mind to avoid damaging your computer or compromising the sanctity of your personal information.

Fake Accounts

The anonymity of the internet is a blessing and a curse. While anonymity gives users great safety from identity thieves, it similarly gives those thieves the easiest way of hiding their identities. Social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook are havens for individuals that like to prey on other people’s identities. One of the most popular strategies that identity thieves use is the creation of a fake account for the purposes of probing users for their information. Fake accounts aren’t necessarily spam, but many times these accounts propagate spam in the form of copy and pasted messages as well as phony pictures and addresses. If you’re ever interacting with a user whom you don’t know, always use extreme caution before you reveal any sort of sensitive information. Data should always be safeguarded, and all it takes is one slip-up for an identity thief to have access to all of your critical information.

Bulk Messaging

Bulk messaging is one of the most common types of spam, and it has been one of the oldest methods of spam in existence. Spam has been a way for marketers as well as identity thieves to capitalize on the internet’s ease of instantaneous messaging for the purpose of spreading more information. Bulk messages are exactly what they sound like. The most common type of bulk message will be a copy and pasted script that’s placed inside of the body of an e-mail. Oftentimes this message will be sent en masse to hundreds or thousands of different email addresses, and oftentimes spammers use multiple email accounts to propagate the spam. This massive messaging ability gives them the capability of sending out thousands of messages at the same time to thousands of users. Oftentimes bulk messages will attempt to sell illicit goods or services. Oftentimes the spammers know that very few users may respond, but if they send out a thousand messages and only 100 users respond, that’s still a victory in the eyes of spammers.

Bulk messaging can often be avoided by simply marking spam messages as spam. Most modern inbox services also feature built-in spam boxes that give a user the capability of blocking out spam before it even happens.

Fake Reviews

One of the most pervasive elements of spam is the fake review. A fake review is a review created by a user for the purpose of affecting the reputation of a service or business. Fake reviews are very commonly seen in the restaurant industry because many times unknown restaurants try to make an impact on sales by boasting of their facility’s pristine quality of service, great food, or unique atmosphere. Fake reviews are insidious because they can create false expectations in the eyes of consumers, and also, many times they are used to maliciously affect the reputations and businesses of competitors. It is not all uncommon for a competitor to write up a fake review for the purpose of damaging the credibility of a competitor. It is also often hard to tell if a review is fake by simply reading the content alone.

Newer review services try and weed out fake reviews by using anti-spam software and phone number data banks, but there has yet to be a 100-percent effective system as far as curbing the use of these reviews. If you’re a business owner and you notice random, unverified reviews that are either glowingly positive or maliciously negative, chances are it is a fake review. Always report a suspected fake username, and in the event it is indeed fake, most review services will delete the review and block the user permanently.


One of the most common tactics real-life con artists use is called the “bait-and-switch.” The so-called “bait-and-switch” gets its name from the fact you’re receiving an individual with something upfront, but you’re switching it for something entirely different. The same principle is used with clickbaiting, but instead of in a real-life setting, it’s used in the virtual setting of the internet. Clickbaiting is insidious because it is perhaps the most common way of deceiving young children or people unfamiliar with the internet. Clickbait style ads are very commonly found on the sides of websites. A typical clickbait spam ad may proclaim the user has won a prize, or it may disguise itself as a useful product or relevant news story. Clickbait may be a bit different from the other spam types mentioned, but it is commonly encountered, and it is one of the easiest ways to accidentally download malicious software.

The only way to avoid clickbait is to avoid clicking it in the first place. This means that a more experienced user should always inform young users or those who are unfamiliar with the internet so they can ensure they do not mistakenly click on a clickbait advertisement or hyperlink.

Whether you or another user whom you know are unaware of different spam types, you should always consult sites that will help educate you on more responsible internet use. Mailcleaner explains social spam and other malicious software types, and it is one of the best sites to consult if you’re looking to improve the safety of your browsing activities on the internet.

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