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Spam, Phishing and Spoofing
When applied to email, spam is defined as Unsolicited Bulk Email (UCE). This is email that has been sent in bulk to people who have not given permission for it to be sent to them. Spam is also commonly known as junk mail.
It is known as Spamming when someone floods the Internet with lots of copies of the same email to multiple addresses. Spam is almost always commercial or fraudulent in nature.
Phishing is when spammers pretend to be a company you trust (such as your email provider, bank, PayPal or Ebay) in order to obtain personal information. Some are obviously fake, but there are others that do look genuine, even to the most experienced user. They will be asking for sensitive details such as passwords, and/or linking to a fake website in order to extract this information.
Quite often, spammers will fake the return address of their emails, resulting in the ‘From’ address being different from the one it was actually sent from. This is known as Spoofing. Viewing the full message headers of an email will usually reveal where the message actually originates.
Best Practice Tips
Be careful with your email address - though it is nearly impossible to avoid being spammed, being cautious with your address can help to limit the amount you get.
Don't respond to spam email - If you are certain it is spam, never reply to one of these emails, even to give them fake account details. Doing so confirms that your email account is active and being read. All you'll achieve is more spam being sent to you!
Get a special 'spam address' - keep your Alumni Email Service email just for friends, family, colleagues and professional use. You can create an alias specifically for website forms, forums or mailing lists, and delete it if it becomes overwhelmed.
Some Spam is Unavoidable
Sadly, if you have an email address, nowadays it is inevitable that you will receive some spam emails. There are many ways that spammers are able to obtain or even guess your email address, and no spam filtering system can keep them all out without blocking legitimate emails.
However, implementing the best practice tips given above can massively reduce the amount of spam that you do get.