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What is SPAM?   PDF  Print  E-mail 
Junk email, sometimes referred to as "spam", Spam is unsolicited email that attempts to sell the recipient goods, services, or properties. Commercial advertisements are most often used for multilevel marketing schemes, get-rich-quick schemes, work-at-home schemes, or for questionable products and/or adult oriented sites.

Spam is flooding the Internet with many copies of the same message, in an attempt to force the message on people who would not otherwise choose to receive it. Spam costs the sender very little to send -- most of the costs are paid for by the recipient or the carriers rather than by the sender.


Email spam targets individual users with direct mail messages. Email spam lists are often created by scanning Usenet postings, stealing Internet mailing lists, or searching the Web for addresses. Email spams typically cost users money out-of-pocket to receive. Many people - anyone with measured phone service - read or receive their mail while the meter is running, so to speak. Spam costs them additional money. On top of that, it costs money for ISPs and online services to transmit spam, and these costs are transmitted directly to subscribers.

One particularly nasty variant of email spam is sending spam to mailing lists (public or private email discussion forums.) Because many mailing lists limit activity to their subscribers, spammers will use automated tools to subscribe to as many mailing lists as possible, so that they can grab the lists of addresses, or use the mailing list as a direct target for their attacks.

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