If you open your email inbox right now and look at your new messages, there's a good chance the first message is going to be spam. The second message probably will be as well. In fact, more than half of your email is probably spam.
Not only is spam annoying, it can be potentially dangerous. It might contain malicious links or downloads that trick you into giving up sensitive information or downloading data-stealing viruses.
Tip within a tip: Can you spot a fake email? Take our phishing IQ test to find out.
While there's no perfect solution for completely getting rid of spam, there are ways to cut down on it substantially. We're going to walk you through three of those options that cover tweaking your existing email to getting a new one.
1. Train your spam filter
While many people lament the amount of spam they get, a lot of them don't take advantage of their email's built-in spam filter. This is especially true if you're using your Internet service provider's email system, since those are often a bit more basic than larger Webmail services.
Your first step is to look at your email's buttons. It will likely have an option that lets you check messages in your inbox then "Mark as Spam," or "Send to Junk folder." If you've opened an email, you should see a button near the Delete or trash can icon that lets you mark the message as spam or junk.
Here's an example from Outlook.com (also Live.com or Hotmail.com):
Sure it's annoying to do this for dozens of emails, but it should start to learn very quickly what you don't want to see. You can see the spam in your inbox cut down from dozens to a handful of messages a day.
If you're using a major Webmail service like Outlook.com, Gmail or Yahoo, the spam filters are good. With a smaller email service, however, it might not catch everything or be as smart as it could be.
For example, it might mark emails as spam it shouldn't, like the daily emails we send you. Learn how to keep our emails from going to the spam folder.
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If your email's spam system isn't cutting it, it might be time for an upgrade.