While we might occasionally receive useful offers from companies we’ve done business with, most of the promotional emails we receive simply clutter our inboxes, making it more difficult to sift out the important messages that need our attention. In addition, some of these messages are far more than simple distractions; they may contain viruses that can spread to contacts in your address book, disrupt your productivity, and even damage files on your computer or smartphone.
How to Get Rid of Junk Email and Spam
Junk emails and spam are frustrating for anyone with an inbox. Fortunately, there's a lot that you can do to stop these pesky emails from flooding in.
Whether you simply want to reduce the clutter in your email inbox or you’re concerned about the security of your information and hardware, here are some practical tips to reduce the spam you receive:
1. Adjust your inbox settings.
Most email services today have built-in spam filters and offer helpful warnings about emails that might be harmful. Some of the most popular free options include Gmail, Yahoo Mail, Outlook, Proton Mail, and iCloud, for Apple users. These email providers actively work on your behalf to reduce the unwanted email that appears in your inbox by identifying prolific producers of spam and sending messages from those producers directly to your spam folder. Some email services also allow you to adjust your inbox settings so that incoming promotional messages are sent to a dedicated folder as well. This allows you to still view messages that you might be interested in, while keeping them out of your inbox.
2. Unsubscribe – with care.
Well, they work for reputable companies, anyway. Here's a helpful tip: When you follow the unsubscribe link, make sure you unsubscribe from all the emails you wish to block. It’s not uncommon for folks to click on the link and then have to take an additional step or two to actually fully unsubscribe.
3. Block obvious spammers.
You can block emails from spammers, and it’s not hard to do. Most email providers allow you to do this in just a few clicks. In most cases, you can start by navigating to the email message itself. From there you’ll want to click ‘settings,’ ‘more,’ or select the three dots to bring up more options. That should bring up an option for you to block the sender.
4. Explore paid spam filters.
There is software that’s designed to specifically solve the problem that so many of us complain about. For a monthly or yearly subscription fee, popular programs such as SPAMfighter Pro and MailWasher Pro offer what they tout as flexible and comprehensive protection.
5. Report spam.
Make sure you’re reporting any spam that slips through. By taking a few seconds to report a spam message, you’re flagging it so your email provider can work to address the problem behind the scenes. Consider it community service – you’re spending a little bit of time to make the world a better place.
The above five tips will resolve the vast majority of issues that the average user will encounter, but there are times when that’s not good enough and you still find yourself inundated with spam. In that case, here are two final ideas to consider.
1. Create your own filters.
If you’re plagued by spam that’s preventing you from efficiently accessing the messages that you really need, then you can create your own spam filters. You can create a key list of addresses and send every message that doesn’t come from one of those addresses to your spam folder. The drawback here is that you’re eventually going to miss messages you may actually want or need. The solution is to regularly look through your spam folder and make sure there aren’t any messages that need your attention. It’s also important to keep that key address list updated so new contacts get sent to your regular email inbox.
2. Change your email address.
This measure is another drastic one, but sometimes it’s the only way to absolutely ensure that your email address is secure and won't be flooded with spam. I recommend this measure for folks whose email has been repeatedly hacked or is hopelessly inundated with junk mail. You’ll want to notify your regular correspondents of the change and ensure that any support staff has your updated contact information. You want to be accessible, but only to the right folks.
As technology develops, we’ve transitioned from telemarketers who always seemed to call at dinnertime to emails that offer free cruises to the Bahamas or herbal male enhancement products. And while spam is slightly less intrusive than a ringing home phone, it’s still no less a problem. The bright side is that with just a little effort, we can clean house and eliminate nearly all the unwanted email that clogs our inbox.
FAQs on How to Get Rid of Spam Emails
1. How do you stop spam emails permanently?
Here's how you can stop spam emails:
- Be careful where you share your email address. Avoid using your primary email address for social media or for registrations. You may want to consider using an email alias instead.
- Use your email's built-in spam-filtering tools. You can report spam, phishing, block senders, and create custom filters.
- Consider using a third-party app that can help you block spam emails.
- Manually unsubscribe to the emails yourself. Just take care when entering your information that it is a legitimate website, and not a hacker impersonating a company.
2. How do you delete junk emails without opening them?
To delete junk emails without opening them, usually all you have to do is check the little box to the left of the email in question. Once the box is checked you can navigate to the menu and select delete or 'mark as spam.' For some inboxes, you may need to select the message, navigate to the 'move to' button, then select the Junk or Spam folder in order to flag the email as junk/spam. This process will vary depending on what email provider you're using, so be sure to check the process for your specific email provider if you get stuck.
A version of this article was originally published on October 7, 2013.
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