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Americans Redefine Meaning of 'Spam'

email . / Credit: Spam Image via Shutterstock

Americans are changing their tune on what constitutes "spam" to include social media posts, phone messages and text messages.

The researchers found that 95 percent of Americans received an email that contained a virus, spyware or malware last year.

Those emails are creating a problem for many recipients. Nearly 9 percent of people say they infected their computers by opening attachments from those emails. Nearly one in three people say they have opened emails with virus, but stopped short of opening attachments in those messages.

[How to Prevent Email from Taking Over Your Life]

Spammers may want to watch out; 31 percent of respondents say they are likely to take action against spammers in some way, with men more likely to take action than women. Respondents say they are likely to send angry emails, phone calls, social media posts or texts to spammers.

"Spam email is an unfortunate fact of life in the computer age. Users have become more aware of the threats they face, but spammers have also become craftier in disguising these messages," said Jonas Falck, CEO and co-founder of Halon North America, which conducted the research. "Web hosting and email service providers don’t always prevent spam email threats from being delivered, so people need to be careful when encountering suspicious emails that may hijack their computer or render it inoperable."

People who want to avoid the problems associated with spam messages should be leery of emails that appear to be from banking institutions, social media sites and online payment services. The majority of spam messages came from those sources, the researchers found. People should also avoid emails with all-capital subject lines, strange formatting, odd language and unknown addresses. 

The researchers also found differences in the types of spam emails men and women opened. Women were more likely to open emails from social networks, while men are more likely to open emails from that promised money and nude photos, the researchers say.

Originally published on BusinessNewsDaily

Dave Mielach

Dave started writing for BusinessNewsDaily as a freelance writer in May 2011 and was hired as a staff writer in October 2011. He graduated from Marist College with a B.A. in Communication and a business minor. Prior to writing for BusinessNewsDaily, he interned at The Poughkeepsie Journal and two Marist College publications. To find out what his latest project is, you can follow Dave on .

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