Are you bombarded with spam emails every single day? You’re not alone. Most of us find unwanted emails in our inbox, which can be quite a chore to delete.
The truth is, you can’t stop spam emails altogether. But, you can minimise them. In this article I’ll talk you through how you can reduce the amount of spam you get sent, and deal with spam emails you do receive efficiently.
Let’s get right into it.
Sorry, But You Can’t Stop Spam Emails
Just like anyone can call your mobile or post you a letter, anyone can send you an email. The people sending you junk, selling you rubbish, or trying to steal your personal information have just as much right to send you an email as your parents, closest friends, and work colleagues.
What About Blocking?
Initially, email blocking seems like the perfect solution – just like blocking the number of a telemarketer that won’t stop calling. Unfortunately, spammers are pretty smart, especially when it comes to getting their emails into the inboxes of unsuspecting web users.
Basically, blocking an email address means telling your email provider, ‘If you ever receive an email from firstname.lastname@example.org, delete it straight away’. The issue is, the 100 spam emails you received today are most likely from 100 different email addresses than the spam you received yesterday.
Spammers change their email addresses all the time to get around email blocking, so there’s really no point trying. They even use ‘smart’ fake email addresses to make it look like the email is coming from someone you know. If you block that address, you won’t be able to receive emails from your real friend or colleague anymore.
Stop Spam Emails with Spam Filters
As I mentioned, you can’t stop 100 per cent of spam emails you receive, but you can minimise the number that end up in your inbox. Spam filters are a great way to send the spam into the spam or junk mail folder. So if you receive 100 spam emails a day, only 0-5 should make it into your inbox.
Spam filters differentiate real/important emails from spam emails in a number of ways:
- Where the email is coming from
- What the email is about
- How many other people are receiving the same email
- Other technical details
Most browser-based email providers (Gmail, Yahoo! Mail, Hotmail, etc.) come with a pretty good spam filter.
Improving Your Spam Filter
You can quickly and easily improve the effectiveness and accuracy of your spam filter by ‘training’ it. You can do this by marking any spam that does find its way into your inbox as spam or junk. Your spam filter will then take note of the features of the email (i.e. where it’s from, what it’s about, etc.) and will block similar emails in the future.
How to Mark an Email as Spam: Gmail
Gmail is the most popular web-based email provider, and it has an effective spam filter built in. To mark an email as spam, open the email. Click the drop down arrow next to the reply arrow. Then click ‘Report spam’.
If you don’t use Gmail, you can find instructions on your email provider’s or program’s support page.
Preventing Spam in the First Place
Because you can’t stop spam completely, it’s a good idea to learn how to keep your email safe and secure so spammers can’t add it to their mailing lists. Here are a few tips on how to prevent receiving spam emails:
- Avoid posting your email address publicly. This means adding a contact form to your website instead of your email, and keeping you email address private on social media sites.
- Avoid responding to/clicking links/downloading attachments on spam emails. If you do take action, it shows the spammers they have found an active email account, and they will continue to send more and more spam your way.
- Avoid giving your email address away to just any person or company. This is probably the number one reason people receive spam. Always remember that a lot of smaller, lesser-known companies share email lists with other companies. Your safest bet is to shop with/sign up to reputable businesses – eBay, The Book Depository, etc.
Want Tech Help?
If you’re still receiving a bunch of unwanted spam emails, or if your computer has become infected with a virus after clicking on a spam email, I can help. I can also assist in the installation of anti-virus software, email security, computer repairs, malware removal and help you ensure that your email setup is sending email to the right place. Phone on 1300 553 166 or fill out the form on this page and I’ll be in contact.