7 ways to stop spam email from clogging your inbox

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  • Trying to stop all spam email is tough, but there are ways for you to thwart the majority of it from reaching your inbox.
  • Spam email is unwanted and often unsolicited, clogging 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 may help reduce spam email.
  • Visit Business Insider’s Tech Reference library for more stories.

If you have an email account, chances are you’ve received plenty of spam. Whether this consists of bulk messages from companies, mailing lists you’ve never signed up for, or straight-up nonsense from a strange address whose origin you can’t trace, spam email is annoying at best and potentially dangerous at worst, especially since scammers use spam to exploit more vulnerable users.

Thankfully, there are a few things you can do to stop spam email from reaching your inbox.

How to stop spam email

While you may not be able to stop these unwanted messages entirely, putting a few measures in place will reduce the amount of spam you receive and clean up your inbox so messages you want to read are prioritised.

1. Be careful about revealing your email address

Think of your email address as a valuable piece of personal information. You don’t want just anyone getting a 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 that have questionable legitimacy.

2. Use a throwaway email account

If you have to provide an email address to use a site but don’t want it to have your actual email address, use a throwaway account from a site like TempMail to keep your real account safe. The Chrome and Firefox plugin Blur is also a good, free alternative that will keep your real address private.

Jennifer Still/Business InsiderSites like TempMail can generate a temporary email address for you to use.

3. Set up email filters to detect spam as it comes in

Depending on what email client you use, there is generally the option to create email filters that automatically send messages with a particular subject line or from a particular sender directly to a junk folder or even to your trash folder. Check your client’s user guide to determine how to smartly train its filters to detect and remove spam. Likewise, you should correct your client if it happens to mark a certain message as spam erroneously.

4. Block the senders of the spam emails you receive

This step can be implemented with varying levels of success. Given that spammers often use fake email addresses that differ with every mailing, you may find that spam emails continue even after blocking the sender. However, if you notice that you’re receiving messages from the same address over and over, you can block it within your email client, which should stop it from hitting your inbox.

How to stop spam email 3Jennifer Still/Business InsiderYou can block emails from specific senders within your email client.

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 to learn how to block emails from specific senders on Outlook. You can also block emails on your iCloud account to stop spam emails before they come in.

5. Whatever you do, never respond to a spam email

While it might be tempting to reply to a spam email with an angry tirade or even a request to permanently remove you from their contacts, this never works out. In fact, it could even lead to your account receiving even more spam as the sender will then know that your account is active.

6. Don’t click on any links or buy anything from spam emails

It may seem obvious, but if a message seems like spam, it likely is. Don’t be tempted to purchase anything from one or click on any links contained within the message, even if it seems to offer a way to unsubscribe to the mailing list. Doing so could lead spammers to gain access to your private information and/or share your address with other companies that could lead to more spam.

7. If all else fails, consider signing up for a new email address

If you find that the number of spam mail messages is getting out of control and following the above steps hasn’t helped, it may be time to consider getting a new email address.

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