Nobody enjoys receiving spam in their inbox. It can be overwhelming and frustrating to constantly delete unwanted advertisements, chain letters, and other forms of spam. Wouldn’t it be great if you could prevent these emails from reaching your inbox altogether?
It is important to note that while it may not be possible to completely stop all spam mail, there are steps you can take to significantly reduce the amount you receive. By implementing the right measures, you can effectively manage and minimize the influx of spam emails. Here’s how to do it.
Manage Your Spam Filters
Most email services have built-in features designed to protect against spam. These services automatically classify certain incoming emails as spam based on various factors such as the presence of specific “spammy” words or attachments. You can also contribute to training these filters by manually marking any spam emails that slip through the cracks.
For instance, if you are using Gmail, when you come across a message that you consider spam, you can open the drop-down menu next to the Reply button in the upper-right corner and select “Report spam.” This action not only moves the email to your spam folder but also sends valuable data to Gmail, improving its machine learning programs to accurately detect spam.
Additionally, you have the option to set up your own spam filters. If you notice a recurring theme among the spam emails you receive, such as job offers promising $500 per day working from home, you can create a filter to automatically send such messages directly to your spam folder. Here’s how you can do it in Gmail:
- Step 1: Click on the Gear icon in the upper-right corner and select “See all settings” from the drop-down menu.
- Step 2: Choose the tab labeled “Filters and blocked addresses.” Under the heading “The following filters are applied to all incoming mail,” you will find your existing filters or none if you haven’t created any.
- Step 3: Select “Create a new filter” to open a window where you can specify the criteria for identifying spam emails.
- Step 4: Once you have filled out the form, click on “Create filter.”
- Step 5: On the next screen, choose the action you want Gmail to take when it detects an email that meets your filter’s parameters. You can select options like “Mark as read” or “Delete it.” Check the box next to your desired action and click “Create filter.”
Unsubscribe from Commercial Emails
Not all unwanted emails are malicious. Many are commercial messages like promotional offers from clothing stores or announcements for upcoming sales. Although they can be bothersome, opting out of them is relatively simple. Under U.S. law, commercial emails must provide a clear and easy way for recipients to unsubscribe from future communications. Usually, these emails include an “unsubscribe” button, typically located at the bottom of the message. Once you unsubscribe, you won’t receive further emails from that sender.
Gmail also provides its own “unsubscribe” button for some promotional emails. If you come across a promo email, look for the word “Unsubscribe” to the right of the sender’s email address at the top of the message. Click on this button to unsubscribe from these promotional emails.
Keep Your Email Address Private
One of the best precautions you can take to reduce spam is to protect the privacy of your email address. If you have a work email, only share it with professional contacts and avoid posting it on popular websites or social media platforms. If maintaining an online presence is vital for your job, consider creating a separate email address for commercial purposes, such as receiving electronic receipts.
While it might be impossible to prevent every spam message from reaching you, following these tips should significantly reduce the flow of unwanted emails.
Consider Spam-Blocking Software
If you want an extra layer of protection beyond what your email client provides, you can opt for spam-blocking software. There are various applications available, such as Spamhilator for Windows or SpamSieve for MacOS, that work in conjunction with your email client. These software solutions often offer additional tools not found in email clients, resulting in a higher detection rate for spam emails.
For the best results, combine multiple strategies to effectively combat spam and reclaim control of your inbox.
Image: Gmail Create filter screen.
Image: Gmail unsubscribe button in a promotional email.