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The Spam Survival Handbook: How to Identify and Curb Digital Threats

6 min read

Spam, like an unwelcome guest at a dinner party, has a way of showing up uninvited and ruining the experience for everyone involved. In the digital realm, spam takes on many guises, from the seemingly harmless promotional email to the insidious phishing scam designed to steal your personal information.  

As seasoned students of online behavior, we have made it our mission to understand the ins and outs of spam and to help others navigate the often-treacherous waters of digital communication. In this article, we'll take a closer look at the various categories of spam, explore the telltale signs of each, and provide you with the tools and knowledge needed to keep your inbox and your online presence spam-free.

Email Spam

The granddaddy of digital spam, email spam, has been clogging our inboxes for decades. These unwanted bulk messages peddle everything from dubious weight loss pills to get-rich-quick schemes.

To curb email spam:

  • Use reputable email filters or software.
  • Mark spam emails as "junk" to train filters.
  • Protect your email address by avoiding public posting.
  • Never click links or download attachments from unknown sources.

By staying alert and taking these precautions, you can keep your inbox relatively spam-free. But email is just the beginning...

Phishing and Spear Phishing

Phishing is the more sophisticated, conman cousin of email spam. These fraudulent messages masquerade as legitimate emails from trusted sources, hoping to trick you into revealing sensitive data. Spear phishing takes it a step further, using personalized information to make the ruse even more convincing.

Watch out for these phishing red flags:

  • Urgent requests for personal info or login credentials
  • Slight misspellings or variations of familiar URLs
  • Threatening language (e.g., "Your account will be suspended!")
  • Unexpected attachments from "trusted" sources

To avoid getting hooked by phishing:

  • Verify suspicious requests through official channels.
  • Hover over links to check URLs before clicking.
  • Enable two-factor authentication on sensitive accounts.
  • Keep your software and security protocols up to date.

Remember, legitimate organizations will never ask for sensitive info via email. When in doubt, go directly to the source. Now, let's reel in a couple more types of spam...

Smishing and Vishing

Smishing (SMS phishing) and Vishing (voice phishing) are like Phishing's tech-savvy siblings. These scams use text messages and phone calls, respectively, to lure unsuspecting victims into giving up personal information or funds.

Signs of Smishing and Vishing include:

  • Unsolicited texts or calls claiming to be from official sources.
  • Pressure to act quickly or face consequences.
  • Requests for sensitive info, like credit card numbers or SSNs.
  • Unfamiliar phone numbers or area codes

To protect yourself from these scams:

  • Don't respond to suspicious texts or calls.
  • Block unknown numbers and report them to your carrier.
  • Never give out personal info over the phone or via text
  • Educate yourself on current scam tactics and trends.

In the age of smartphones, Smishing and Vishing are becoming increasingly common. But with a little know-how and a healthy dose of skepticism, you can keep these pesky scams at bay.

Tanla is at the forefront of combating spam through Trubloq, world’s largest blockchain use case. Trubloq ensures data privacy with real-time and reliable protection against unsolicited commercial communication.

Social Media and Comment Spam

Social media and comment spam are the attention-seeking cousins of the spam family. These unwanted posts and comments clutter our feeds and conversations with irrelevant or malicious content, often promoting questionable products or links.

Identifying social media and comment spam is straightforward:

  • Off-topic or irrelevant posts and comments
  • Excessive use of hashtags or links
  • Accounts with no profile picture or a high following-to-follower ratio
  • Repetitive or generic messages across multiple posts or platforms

To curb this type of spam:

  • Adjust your privacy settings to limit who can post on your profiles.
  • Use built-in reporting features to flag spam accounts and comments.
  • Moderate comments on your own posts and delete spam as needed.
  • Be selective about accepting friend requests or following back.

While social media and comment spam may seem more annoying than dangerous, they can still lead to malware or phishing attempts.

Mobile App Spam and Messenger Spam

Mobile app spam and messenger spam are the tech-savvy, boundary-pushing members of the spam family. These unwanted messages infiltrate our smartphones through fake or malicious apps and messaging platforms, bombarding us with ads, phishing attempts, and even malware.

Here's how to spot mobile app and messenger spam:

  • Unsolicited messages from unknown contacts
  • Excessive or irrelevant ads within apps
  • Apps that request unnecessary permissions or access to personal data
  • Unusual battery drains or data usage caused by suspicious apps.

To keep your smartphone spam-free:

  • Only download apps from official app stores and trusted developers
  • Read app reviews and permissions carefully before installing.
  • Avoid clicking on links or downloading attachments from unknown sources.
  • Regularly update your apps and operating system to patch security vulnerabilities.

Our smartphones are often the keys to our digital lives, making mobile apps and messenger spam particularly concerning. By being cautious about what we download and who we interact with, we can keep our devices and data safe from these mobile menaces.

Spam Bots

Spam bots are the robotic army of the spam world, tirelessly working to spread their unwanted messages across the internet. These automated programs scour the web for email addresses, post spam content, and even create fake social media accounts to amplify their reach.

Identifying spam bot activity can be tricky, but there are a few telltale signs:

  • Rapid-fire posting or messaging, often faster than humanly possible
  • Identical or nearly identical content posted across multiple platforms.
  • Nonsensical or irrelevant responses in conversations
  • Social media accounts with generic profile pictures and names

To curb spam bot activity:

  • Use CAPTCHA or similar verification methods on web forms and sign-ups.
  • Implement rate limiting to prevent bots from rapidly posting or creating accounts.
  • Monitor your platforms for suspicious activity and block bot accounts as needed.
  • Encourage users to report bot activity and make reporting easy and accessible.

While spam bots may seem like an unstoppable force, there are measures we can take to limit their impact. By implementing the right tools and staying vigilant, we can keep these automated annoyances at bay.


So, there you have it, folks – a whirlwind tour of the wild and wacky world of spam. From the classic email con to the bot-infested badlands of social media, we have seen how spammers will stop at nothing to get their grubby little messages in front of our eyeballs. Armed with the knowledge and tips we have shared today, you now have the power to fight back against the spam scourge.

Remember, the key to staying spam-free is a combination of vigilance, skepticism, and a healthy dose of common sense. Do not let your guard down, and always think before you click. And if all else fails, just imagine each piece of spam you encounter is a tiny, electronic mosquito – annoying, but ultimately harmless if you don't let it get under your skin.

Now go forth, brave warriors of the web, and take back your inboxes, your social media feeds, and your sanity!