junk_faxIf you're familiar with the concept of spam mail and fliers being shoved down your mailbox, you're familiar with junk faxing as well, because it's the very same concept.

What is Junk Faxing?

Junk faxing is sending of advertisement messages sent by the telemarketers, a practice that boomed along with the popularity of fax machines as a communication medium. For the attacker, it's one of the methods of reaching potential new buyers for their products, much like door-to-door junk mail and e-mails, but with one very distinct difference that makes junk faxing a punishable offense in USA and in some other countries – first of all, while you are in the process of receiving a junk fax, your line is busy for the other incoming calls, which may be important to you or your business, and, second, you are using your own paper and ink to print an advert someone else sent.

Avoiding Junk Faxing

If you are not printing out your received faxes but storing them on PC, or if you're using online fax services, you don't have any noticeable cost in receiving unsolicited junk fax, and you've done a lot already to cover yourself from this malicious form of fax messaging, but if you're using a fax machine, you may find yourself spending a lot of money just because you're getting junk mail sent your way.

You can call your service provider and ask to get unlisted from the public fax phone listings, that should reduce the number of junk faxes you receive somewhat, but companies that already have your number will not be affected. You can also block the numbers you get junk faxes from, as these are usually company fax numbers, they don't change all the time.

In USA it is possible to bring a private suit against the person sending you junk faxes, but each state regulates junk faxing differently, so you may want to consult a lawyer about that. In canada there is no similar legal mechanism, but there are still regulations regarding faxes that need to be followed, which can protect you as an individual from junk faxes by a certain extent. And, of course, using fax modems and online fax services goes a long way towards making sure that you don't suffer any significant cost due to being a target of junk faxing practice.

Broadcast Fax vs Junk Fax

There are legal variants of mass sending of messages, called broadcast faxes, and there are companies offering these services (or fax machines offering to queue up a large number of fax numbers that are going to receive the same message), so not every mass fax is a junk fax. One of the examples for broadcast faxes that is not legally questionable is a fax a bank sends to all of the customers with a fax number to inform them of a policy change, or a reminder from a tax accountant to all of the individuals he is working with that the taxes are due. These (rather important) examples are why options of group faxing are not illegal altogether.

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