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understand what is junk email, its types and its harms

What is junk email and what damage can it do?

If you’ve come this far, it’s probably because you’ve asked yourself “what is junk email?”. In fact, there are numerous statuses that can be assigned to an email address and also to a specific type of email message received.

Among the statuses that an email address can receive are hard bounces, soft bounces, spam traps, role-based, among others.

Firstly, with regard to incoming email messages, we can talk about the classification of emails as authentic messages, phishing, spam, scam, among others. But a junk email can also be merely an email address.

Junk email can therefore fall into both categories: an email address or an email message.

In summary, since the advent of email, its versatility has been such that countless ways of using email for questionable purposes have also been developed, so it has also been necessary to understand and evolve its nomenclature and ways of combating it.

The spam folder or junk folder

When junk email is a type of email message, it can also be characterized as spam.
Yes, junk email and spam can be considered synonymous in essence, as they are unsolicited messages that are unwanted by the recipients.

That’s why it’s possible to find webmail services that call their spam boxes junk.

So, when considering what is junk email, in addition to the messages considered spam, which end up being directed to the spam folder (or junk folder). Other email service providers (ESPs) may, however, separate more than one folder for unwanted or irrelevant emails, as is the case with Gmail, which has promotions and social tabs in addition to the spam folder.

In this way, ESPs’ analysis of what is junk email is much more comprehensive, covering emails ranging from advertisements to phishing attempts, which can crowd inboxes and become a nuisance for users.

That’s why email providers can use the term junk in addition to spam to refer to unwanted messages, because in many cases that’s exactly what they are: junk.

What is junk email: types of messages

Objectively defining what is junk email: these are unsolicited email messages, sent in bulk, possibly from questionable senders, irrelevant and disconnected from the reality of the recipients, and can range from mere annoying advertisements to real threats to those who receive them.


This is the simplest and most common type of junk email. Spam emails are unsolicited messages sent in bulk, usually for advertising purposes.

They can range from advertisements for professional services to offer inserts for e-commerce sites.

One of their most common characteristics is the high frequency of sending, sometimes more than daily. They also fail to connect with the recipient, offering products or services that make no sense.


Junk phishing emails are designed to trick recipients into providing data such as passwords or credit cards by pretending to be a legitimate source, such as a bank or e-commerce. The aim is to gain financial advantage over the recipient.


This type of junk email involves sending mass messages with links that, once clicked, install malicious software that can steal logins and passwords from social networks, databases, etc. The sender of the malware then demands ransom money for these accounts.

Chain emails

Chain emails encourage recipients to forward the message they have received to other people, usually promising financial rewards or making threats of bad luck. There are also chains spreading false information, which can be devastating for the reputation of individuals or companies.

If you’d like more details on the types of junk email (or fake email), we have a very comprehensive content, which you can read on the SafetyMails website.

What is junk email: email addresses

In addition to email messages, a simple email address can be considered junk email.

This categorization occurs when an email address is composed of a prefix that is a swear word or contains other words and strings of characters that could be rejected by anti-spam filters.

Thus, this type of junk email can be categorized as an unwanted or potentially offensive email address.

Keyword filters in junk email

  • Offensive words: any kind of words that contain swear words or offensive language, such as allusions to violence, misogyny, homophobia, racism, among others.
  • Spam-indicating words: email names that contain words such as free, win, prize, offer, among others, can be considered junk email senders.
  • Malicious words: email addresses with words such as hack, virus, password, postmaster, spam trap, honeypot, among others, may be considered inappropriate and may be blocked by junk email.

Pattern recognition filters in junk email

  • Filter for random characters: random sequences of characters, such as hf80934wn@, v3oh0ninn@, among infinite other possibilities.
  • Filter for repeated characters: repeated sequences of characters such as aaa@, bbb@, among others, can be filtered out as junk email addresses.

The impact of junk email

For those who are sending emails using junk email addresses or with dubious content, automatic blocking of email messages is quite likely.

Another problem for those sending such messages is spam reports: recipients can mark these emails as spam, negatively affecting the sender’s reputation.

For companies, allowing junk email addresses to be registered can be detrimental to their activities. It is therefore important to create filters and avoid addresses of this type. For example, sending messages to an address whose prefix is honeypot@ could be very damaging.

How to avoid junk email

Junk email can be very annoying for recipients. The solution is to make good use of your email service provider’s anti-spam settings. You can also make customized settings by registering domains for blocking, among other options.

For companies, it is important to prevent the registration of addresses of this type. For this reason, applying syntax filters and using a real-time email validation tool on registration forms can be extremely useful.


Understanding what is junk email is essential for both ordinary users and companies.

Junk email messages, which range from simple spam to dangerous phishing attacks, pose a constant threat to recipients’ security and productivity.

In addition, email addresses classified as junk, due to offensive words or suspicious patterns, can damage the reputation of senders and affect the effectiveness of electronic communications.

Therefore, implementing effective filtering techniques and educating users about the risks associated with junk email are crucial steps in maintaining a safer and more efficient digital environment. The continuous evolution of tools to detect and combat junk email is vital to keep up with the new strategies adopted by spammers and scammers.

To stay well-informed, follow the SafetyMails articles.

SafetyMails is an Email Validation and Verification Tool. With it you can remove invalid, non-existent, spam traps, temporary and junk emails from your mailing lists, and protect forms in real time with its API. Create a free account now.


What is junk email?

A junk email is an unsolicited message, usually sent in bulk, which can range from simple annoying advertisements to dangerous phishing and malware scams. In addition, email addresses with offensive words or suspicious patterns are also classified as junk.

How do email filters identify junk emails?

Email filters use various techniques to identify junk emails, including recognizing common keywords in spam, analyzing patterns such as random or repeated characters, and evaluating the reputation of the sender’s domain. Content and behavior filters are also applied to improve accuracy.

What are the impacts of junk email for companies?

For companies, junk email can lead to automatic message blocking, spam reports and damage to the sender’s reputation. Allowing junk email addresses to be registered can result in ineffective communication and increased operating costs due to the management of unwanted emails.

How can I avoid receiving junk emails?

You can avoid junk emails by correctly configuring your email provider’s anti-spam filters, blocking suspicious domains, and avoiding disclosing your email address on public platforms. Using a real-time email validation tool when registering new contacts is also an effective measure.

What are the best practices for companies to deal with junk email?

Companies should implement syntax and content filters to prevent the registration of junk email addresses. In addition, using email validation tools and educating employees about the risks associated with junk email are essential for maintaining secure and efficient business communications.