Spam vs Phishing Mail: Difference and Comparison

Have you ever gotten a call or an email which sounded a little fishy? Perhaps the person or business that contacted you appeared to be fraudulent or relentless in their attempts to obtain your private information?

It’s possible that those were spam as well as phishing efforts. Spam, as well as phishing, are two closely related terms that are easily mixed up.

Continue reading to discover the difference between the two and how to prevent being a victim of a phishing attack.

Key Takeaways

  1. Spam refers to unsolicited messages sent to many recipients, while phishing mail involves targeted, fraudulent attempts to acquire sensitive information.
  2. Spam can be annoying but harmless, while phishing mail poses a significant security risk for individuals and organizations.
  3. Anti-spam measures help filter out unwanted messages, while anti-phishing measures focus on identifying and preventing fraudulent attempts to gain sensitive information.

Spam vs Phishing Mail

The difference between spam and phishing is that spam is uninvited junk email delivered to a large number of recipients.

Spam is delivered with a benign aim, such as to offer you services or products, however, phishing is an effort to get entrance to a victim’s private accounts or acquire confidential material by duping them into exposing credentials or personal information.

Spam vs Phishing Mail

Spam is an uninvited and undesired trash email that has been sent in mass to a large number of people. Spam is sent for commercial motives.

Spams, however, may contain a harmful effort to get access to a computer system, making email security crucial protection.

Phishing is a type of deception. Malicious hackers utilize mail, text messaging, and other social networking sites to impersonate a trusted individual to acquire data such as login credentials.

When a malevolent entity sends a false email that appears to be from a legitimate, trustworthy source, it is known as phishing.

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonSpamPhishing Mail
MeaningSpam is an uninvited and undesired trash email that has been sent in mass to a large number of people. Phishing emails are fraudulent emails that employ powerful social engineering methods such as pressure, “urgent action needed” messages, trust, and so on in order to collect private information for illegal purposes.
ObjectiveUsually done in bulk to promote business and marketing.For scamming and leaking personal data illegally.
RisksThis can be harmful if the spammer is a criminal and posts malware in the spammed mail. Although spam mails are for advertising and promotions.Phishing has high risks and can potentially cause identity crises and information misplacement.
TypesThere are a couple of types like Vishing, baiting and scamming mails under the spam category.Spear phishing, whaling, mass phishing, etc.
Security MeasuresTry to avoid clicking unknown links and embedded sites. And clean your spam inbox regularly.Do not download or click any unknown link or file.

What is Spam?

Uninvited email is referred to as spam (also known as junk mail). Spam is almost always a form of advertisement. Spam, on the other hand, might contain hazardous links, viruses, or false information.

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The ultimate goal is to obtain sensitive data like a social security number or banking information. The majority of spam originates from numerous networking equipment infected with a virus or worm.

These infected machines send out as much spam email as they can.

Spam email is frequently sent for commercial motives. Even though some individuals consider spam to be immoral, many firms continue to employ it.

The cost per email is extremely low, and businesses can send out large volumes of emails regularly. Spammers can also be a way for a hacker to get access to a computer system.

Because spam email may be transmitted via botnets, it can also be difficult to block. Botnets are a collection of previously infected machines that form a network. As a result, tracing and stopping the initial spammer might be challenging.

Mark a communication as spam in an email program if it looks to be spam—for example, if the sender is someone you don’t know. Any links or associated files, especially opt-out or unsubscribe URLs, should not be clicked.

These links may be included by spammers to verify that your email account is valid, or they may lead to harmful web pages or files.

Spam emails are commercial advertisements that are sent to users’ email inboxes with the express purpose of making sales to as many people as possible.

Spammers may make loads of money if only a small percentage of individuals react to their emails and purchase or subscribe to the offered goods or services.


What is Phishing Mail?

Phishing emails are fraudulent emails that employ powerful social engineering methods such as pressure, “urgent action needed” messages, trust, and so on in order to collect private information for illegal purposes.

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Many email and phone publications and distribution say that spam is a nuisance for their consumers, which is why many of them have constructed settings to identify spam and notify you when you get one.

Due to the complexity of phishing, many email providers lack advanced enough filters to detect phishing efforts. Fortunately, most phishing scams may be avoided by following a few easy measures.

When you receive strange emails, in addition to paying attention to the warning indicators indicated above, take the following steps.

Phishing attacks are designed to steal your personal information by using deceptive methods. For example, you may get an email purporting to be from a non-profit group requesting money or a phone call from your bank requesting your social security number.

Phishing is a cyber crime which requires skills like manipulation and sometimes black hat tactics to cut into an user’s personal details for criminal purposes.. Phishing attacks are deceptive messages that appear to originate from a trusted source.

The purpose is to dupe the receiver into handing over sensitive information or to infect the victim’s computer with malware in the form of spyware. Spear phishing is a type of phishing in which a single high-profile figure is targeted.

phishing mail

Main Differences Between Spam and Phishing Mails

  1. Spam emails are junk emails whereas phishing emails are fraudulent emails.
  2. Spam emails are a kind of marketing scheme applied by businesses whereas phishing mails are engineered to trap and blackmail the user.
  3. Spam emails are not always harmful but more annoying whereas phishing mails are always harmful and must be dealt with carefully.
  4. Spam emails can be stopped but phishing emails are tricky to unsubscribe.
  5. Commercial material is used in spam emails, whilst significant social manipulation methods are used in phishing emails.
Difference Between Spam and Phishing Mail

Last Updated : 13 July, 2023

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