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No More Spam, Please! How Can You Stop Getting Spam Emails?

By Alexandra Gavril - June 26, 2012

Spam email is so irritating! It can also be time-consuming to go and delete each and every unwanted email, if no other anti-spam method seems to work. You’re probably tired of seeing your email invaded by offers for pharmaceutical products, adult services or loans.

For sure, a lot of spam is fairly innocuous. The problem arises when more sinister intentions come into play. In a 2023 study by the UK government, 79% of businesses and 83% of charities experienced a phishing attack in the last year. Phishing is the most commonly reported type of cybercrime. Moreover, the UK is the most-targeted country in Europe when it comes to phishing.

Spammers are getting smarter every day and that only makes the task more difficult. Take the recent LinkedIn password breach — many users recieved emails that looked like they were from LinkedIn, asking to confirm email addresses by clicking a link. In fact, the link was for an illicit online pharmacy.

So, what can you do to stop getting spam emails? The good news is that there are some things you can do to stop spam emails.

Using spam filters

Check to see if your email hosting provider has an anti-spam filter. For instance, the email hosting from 123-reg has built in spam filters that keep unwanted emails away from your inbox.

Other methods to stop spam

Don’t use your email everywhere on the web, at least ensure that the site is safe and secure. Once your email address is in the hands of spammers, unwanted emails will come pouring in and it will not be pleasant.

Consider using a disposable email address. You can always create a secondary email address for less important emails, such as subscriptions to blogs or sites, writing comments on forums or buying products online.

Never click links. These can lead you to bad places on the web or install malware on your computer.

Use anti-spam tools. Microsoft 365 Outlook, for example, includes essential tools to help users combat spam. It features a Junk Email Filter that automatically directs suspicious emails to a separate folder, with options for users to adjust its sensitivity. Users can also manage their Safe and Blocked Senders lists, making sure the right emails are received and unwanted ones are kept at bay. Outlook’s built-in protection guards against phishing, and for those with certain plans, Advanced Threat Protection can offers further security against sophisticated threats.

There are also third-party anti-spam tools available to enhance email security by effectively blocking spam and phishing emails. These tools use various techniques to filter out unwanted messages.

Don’t respond and don’t bother unsubscribing, either, because if this is indeed a spam email, the unsubscribe button only serves to confirm your email address once you click on it. That means instead of stopping unwanted emails from that address, you are subscribing, which will attract even more spam.

Be aware of file types whenever you download, whether in an email or from anywhere else, for that matter. While anti-virus software has its role to play, simply having an awareness of file type extensions can do a lot for one’s online security. For example, does that file labeled “FamilyPhoto” end with ‘.jpg’ or ‘.bmp’, as a picture file should, or does it end with ‘.exe’? Opening a mysterious file of the latter type — that is, an executable file — is often a recipe for disaster.

On Windows, you can display these extensions in the File Explorer by checking the ‘File name extensions’ box under the ‘View’ tab. For Mac users, enabling this feature is done in Finder by selecting ‘Preferences,’ then ‘Advanced,’ and checking ‘Show all filename extensions.’ This practice helps you spot and avoid suspicious files, providing an added layer of security in your digital activities.

Stay informed. Keep up to date on the latest spam trends and educate your colleagues or family members, especially about recognising and avoiding phishing attempts.

On your own website, set up a contact form instead of adding your real email address. This way you avoid spambots collecting your email address.  If you prefer including the email, an efficient solution to mislead spambots is to write it in a different form, eg., myname[ at ]mycompany[ dot ]com.

Report it. The UK government offers its own page to report scams and phishing. You can report spam emails, fraudulent websites, but also scam activities you suspect by post or telephone. Check it out, here.

How are you dealing with spam?