Have you ever noticed that your email client application has both spam and junk mail folders? What exactly is the difference and when should you use each?
The difference largely comes down to permissions. Spam is unsolicited email, aka, mail that you haven’t asked for or provided your information to receive. Junk mail is solicited email; mail sent to you because you provided them with your information somewhere along the way.
We’re using “provided them with your information” very loosely here. They could have acquired your information from a Facebook mailing list or another service you have signed up for, or even from your email client itself and it would all count as solicited mail. The fact of the matter is that by signing up in most places, you’re also allowing them to sell and share your information for “marketing purposes”, which includes passing your information along for junk mail.
Email clients have different ways of dealing with spam and junk mail. If you’re receiving email from an IP address that is known to send a lot of spam, your server may reject the email. If the IP passes the test, the email may be marked as junk by the email content filters. In that instance, the mail is placed in the Junk folder. Therefore, many times you’ll find emails you requested passed into the Junk folder.
Fortunately, email clients are constantly working on fine-tuning their processes for sorting and filtering spam and junk emails. Unfortunately, hackers are also constantly trying to evade these processes to make it into your inbox. That said, it’s worthwhile to invest in cyber security protections like encryption and data backup. Furthermore, follow the best practices recommended for email safety, like not clicking on suspicious emails, attachments or links.
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