- Trying to stop all spam is difficult, but there are ways to stop the majority of it from reaching your inbox.
- Spam is unwanted and often unsolicited, cluttering your inbox with information from companies, services or people you don’t know or aren’t interested in.
- Unsubscribing from mailing lists and setting up email filters are just two options that can help reduce spam.
If you have an email account, chances are you’ve received a lot of spam. Whether it’s bulk messages from companies, mailing lists you’ve never signed up for, or straight-up nonsense from a weird address you can’t trace back to, spam is at annoying at best and potentially dangerous at worst, especially since scammers use spam to exploit the most vulnerable users.
Fortunately, there are things you can do to prevent spam from reaching your inbox.
How to stop spam
While you can’t completely stop these unwanted messages, putting a few things in place will reduce the amount of spam you receive and clean up your inbox so the messages you want to read get priority.
1. Be careful when disclosing your email address
Treat your email address as valuable personal information. You don’t want anyone getting hold of it, so try to keep it private and avoid posting it in public forums such as message boards or revealing it on websites of questionable legitimacy.
2. Use a disposable email account
If you need to provide an email address to use a site but don’t want it to have your real email address, use a disposable account from a site like TempMail to protect your real account. The Chrome and Firefox plugin fall out is also a good free alternative that will keep your real address private.
3. Set up email filters to catch spam as it arrives
Depending on the email client you use, there is usually the ability to create email filters that automatically send messages with a particular subject line or from a particular sender directly to a spam folder or even to your of trash. Consult your client’s user guide to determine how to intelligently train its filters to detect and remove spam. Likewise, you should correct your customer if he happens to mark a certain message as spam by mistake.
4. Block senders of spam emails you receive
This step can be implemented with varying degrees of success. Since spammers often use fake email addresses that differ with each send, you may find that spam emails continue even after you block the sender. However, if you notice that you receive messages from the same address repeatedly, you can block it in your email client, which should prevent it from reaching your inbox.
To block emails on Gmail, read our article to learn how. For AOL, see our article on how to block AOL emails. To learn how to block emails on Yahoo, read our article here. For Microsoft Outlook, read our article on how to block emails from specific senders on Outlook. You can also block emails in your iCloud account to stop spam before it arrives.
5. Whatever you do, never reply to spam
While it may be tempting to respond to spam with an angry tirade or even a request to permanently remove you from their contacts, that never works. In fact, it could even lead to your account receiving even more spam because the sender will then know that your account is active.
6. Don’t click on any links or buy anything from spam
It may seem obvious, but if a message looks like spam, it probably is. Don’t be tempted to buy anything from or click on any links in the post, even if it seems to offer a way to unsubscribe from the mailing list. This could lead spammers to access your private information and/or share your address with other companies, which could lead to more spam.
7. If all else fails, consider signing up for a new email address
If you find that spam numbers are spiraling out of control and following the steps above hasn’t helped, it might be time to consider getting a new email address.