About Spam

UBC IT has prepared a backgrounder on spam [pptx - PowerPoint file] which provides an overview of spam and how to best avoid it.

Spam is the internet's equivalent of "Junk Mail"

Spam is unsolicited and unwanted email that comes in many forms. Spam messages can:

  • Advertise a product or service. Legitimate promotions and advertisements from commercial online businesses including retailers, financial institutions and utilities. These senders usually obtain email addresses from orders, surveys, contests and warranty registrations, and may also purchase from, sell to or share email lists with other companies.
  • Contain offensive text or images, specifically sexually explicit solicitations.
  • Attempt to defraud people of money. Typical is the 419 Scam whose name references the fraud section of the Nigerian legal code. 419 spam messages, which often feature the subject heading Urgent Business Deal, offer recipients a percentage of a large sum of money for helping the sender transfer funds out of a west African country.
  • Spread computer viruses.

Spam is a serious problem

More than 60% of the email being sent to UBC is spam, which can result in:

  • Email delivery delays. The massive amount of spam email being sent to UBC sometimes can prevent university mail servers from quickly processing and delivering legitimate email.
  • Lost productivity. Spam increases the amount of time spent by faculty, staff and students to manage mailbox contents.

Avoiding and Managing Spam

Refer to the Dealing with Spam page to review steps that you can take to manage spam and bulk email. This page also offer tips on how to protect your email address from spammers.

Further Details

Read more on Message Rejection and how it works.