Junk mail, also known as unsolicited mail, is an email or postal sent by a sender without any request from the recipient. It often contains advertising or other messages with no request or indication of interest from the recipient. It is undesirable as it can clog up inboxes or postboxes, divert attention from more important items, and cost time to manage or delete. Such emails or postcards can be in the form of spam, lottery scams, malicious marketing campaigns, or viruses disguised as email attaching malicious software.
Junk mail has been around since the 1850s, when the first real advertising postcards appeared. Until recently, junk mail usually meant postal mail, but with the rise of internet usage and the widespread adoption of communication technologies, electronic form of junk mail is becoming increasingly common.
At its worst, junk mail can be annoying and dangerous, such as when an email contains malicious software that can infect a computer. In order to prevent that, organizations have established laws that require companies to obtain permission from their customers before sending them any marketing materials or offers. Many organizations today also provide users with tools to block or report unsolicited emails.
In addition, many email providers give users the ability to filter junk mail or block certain kinds of mail completely. Furthermore, users can choose to opt out of getting marketing emails by making sure that they read the small print on any emails they receive and actively opting out of lists that will not be providing them with useful information.
Junk mail, though typically annoying or unwanted, can still be used to provide users with useful information, such as new promotions, deals, or offers from companies they are already customers of. This can be a good thing, as it can help customers to save money. However, it is important to be aware of the potential risks that such emails may pose.