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Cut down the amount of spam in your inbox

Gone are the days when SPAM represented a gelatinous canned ham product that regularly adorned tables around the globe. Although hard to believe, over the 82 years since its creation, SPAM has come to find its way into your inbox.

Ok, so technically the spam in your email isn’t a food mash-up, but something much more difficult to digest; junk mail. Considering 56% of all electronic mail is deemed spam, it’s no wonder people have an equal distaste for email as they do for the ‘meaty’ namesake.

While most email services have spam filters, junk mail continues to flood inboxes. Not only is the number of unsolicited messages annoying, they often contain malware or are used for phishing schemes.

Ridding your inbox of all spam is a feat not easily realized, however, cutting down the amount you receive can be accomplished by implementing a few practices. Here are a few of our best suggestions.

Identifying spam

Unsure of what to watch out for when it comes to identifying spam in your email? Here are a few indicators a message might not be on the up-and-up.

  • Unknown sender’s address – Always take a close look at the sender’s address, if you do not recognize it chances are it is spam. Criminals have become very adept at creating material that appears legitimate, so take a close look at all addresses before assuming it’s safe to open. One misspelled word, incorrect domain name, or missing letter could result in you unknowingly opening a message that infects your operating system.
  • Spelling errors and poor grammar – The sender’s address is not the only area in which you may see spelling errors or poor grammar. The body of a spam message is often riddled with typos. If you notice several mistakes, exercise caution and delete the email, it could be a phishing attack.
  • Email includes an attachment – Unless you know and trust the sender, never open an email attachment. Opening an attachment to a spam message can put your system at risk from a multitude of cyber-attacks.

Now that you can recognize a few markers of spam, let’s check out how to reduce the number of unsolicited messages and junk mail you receive.

How to cut down the number of spam emails in your inbox

Do not reply – Although this practice may seem obvious, it cannot be overstated. Never respond to a suspect email or click a link in a questionable message. Responding to spam will indicate to spammers your email is active and encourage them to continue sending you junk.

Adjust your spam filter settings – Most email services include spam detection; however, adjusting your provider’s spam settings can help ensure a higher amount of spam is detected before it shows up in your inbox.

One option if you are using Gmail is to click on the three-dot icon in the right corner and choose Report Spam. This step will notify Google to investigate and will send future emails from that sender directly to your spam folder.

Outlook has a similar feature. Right-click the suspect email and choose Junk then Block Sender.

 

Related: Sophisticated scam targets Gmail and Google Calendar users

 

Create additional email addresses – If you do not wish to eliminate mailing lists that you’ve signed up for, create another email address to keep these types of messages separate from your everyday inbox. This practice will allow you to maintain a relatively spam-free primary email account.

Utilize third-party apps – When you are finding a considerable amount of spam still making its way into your inbox, try a third-party app. The desktop app, SpamBully, works with most email programs, including Gmail, Outlook, and Yahoo.

SpamSieve is for use on Mac computers and iOS mobile devices. This standalone spam blocker is compatible with Yahoo and Gmail, among others.

Delete your email account – When in doubt, delete your account. There comes a time when deleting your email account makes sense. If your inbox continues to be overrun with unsolicited or spam messages, starting anew may be the best alternative to fighting a constant battle with spammers.

Of course, if you choose to delete your account, notify family, friends or coworkers of your new email address and be sure to change your email address on any accounts linked to your old email address.

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