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If you use emails for sending and receiving messages, there is a good chance you also receive spam emails. Spam emails are also known as junk emails and are unsolicited or unwanted emails that are sent out to an indiscriminate email list.
This is usually done for commercial or promotional purposes. If your email address is on this email list, you will likely be getting incessant and unsolicited emails unless you take measures to prevent this from happening.
Knowing the measures one must take to prevent spam emails is a significant pain for many people, but if you can read this article, you will quickly discover how junk emails may be stopped.
Why You Need to Prevent Spam Emails
In most cases, spam messages are harmless to their receivers. Notwithstanding, some of them are potentially harmful. Spammers can send messages to their email list and request money or information. Similarly, hackers can send phishing emails that contain malware and viruses to the unsuspecting people on their email lists.
How to detect unwanted emails
To stop spam emails, you must understand how to differentiate them from promotional emails. This is necessary so that you don't begin to miss out on beneficial promotional offers sent as emails when you delete them.
There are telltale signs that can show if you have received unsolicited messages, and these include:
Irregular email address
You should consider checking the sender's email address. If you receive emails from a source that claims to be your credit card company or bank, you should check to see if it has a suspicious domain name or odd characters. If it does, you should consider it as spam.
These fake emails often pretend to come from a high-ranking government official or some well-established legitimate company.
Strange subject line
If you receive emails that sound aggressive or threatening in any way, that talk about medications that do not have the necessary approval of the regulatory bodies or promise to deliver celebrity adult content should be considered spam.
Requests for personal information
The trusted companies you are affiliated with should address you personally when sending messages. Where you receive emails that vaguely address you, such as "Dear Valued Customer", and requests for your financial or personal information is most likely a phishing email.
In most unwanted messages, you will find errors such as poor grammar and some misspelt words.
Has a link to a suspicious website
If you receive an email containing a suspicious link, do not click on it. Rather, hover your mouse over the link to see the destination URL. If the URL appears suspicious or unfamiliar, do not open it.
You should also ensure that your computer's antivirus software is current and report the suspicious email to your organisation's IT department or the email provider. Additionally, always be cautious of emails asking for personal or sensitive information, and verify the legitimacy of the sender or organisation before taking any action.
Why Do I Receive Spam Emails?
Email is one of the most effective means of communicating with people; from the look of things, it is not going away anytime soon. By the close of 2023, there will be about 4.4 billion active email users.
Since most email users are known to check their email accounts regularly, hackers and scammers know that they can reach their victims through this means easily unless they use strong spam filters.
One common misconception is that people won't receive junk emails if they are careful with their online activities. This is far from being true because you can no longer control what happens to your email address once you give it out.
Your email address can fall into the hands of spammers in various ways. The most common ones are:
- You inadvertently subscribed to a newsletter.
- You posted your email address on a website or public forum.
- A company that has your details suffered a data breach.
- You have unknowingly clicked on a malicious email.
Even if you have not done any of the listed actions, junk emails will still find their way into your email account one way or another.
Is it Important to Stop Spam Emails?
If you don't find spam emails annoying, you have probably not received enough of them. Learning how to stop spam emails will prevent these annoying emails from getting to you and is also a matter of security.
In many cases, spam emails have been discovered to be cyber-attacks in disguise. As an example, they can be used as phishing scams designed for the sole purpose of stealing your information. At other times, they are used to deliver malware to their victims' computers.
Findings have shown that about 94% of malware is delivered through email. As such, you need to be extra careful with spam emails because hackers can use them to deliver malware to your computer and gain control over your device remotely.
When hackers have access to thousands of hacked devices, they can make up a botnet which they can then use to send spam emails. If you are experiencing disturbing amounts of spam emails, you can report them to the following:
- Your Personal Email Provider – Many people use popular email services such as Yahoo Mail, Gmail, and Apple Mail. These email services have features that prevent spam from getting into your email account in future messages you receive.
- Your Work Email Provider – Many companies use work email providers like Microsoft 365 and Google Workspace. These work email providers employ machine learning algorithms, artificial intelligence, and pattern recognition to detect and block suspicious emails. They also provide users with customisable spam settings, allowing them to further refine their email filters based on their preferences.
- The Sender's Email Service Provider – In most cases, email providers will be ready to cut off spammers who denigrate their systems.
- The (ACCC) Australian Competition and Consumer Commission – You can report the issue of spam emails you are receiving to this commission, and it will impose a stiff penalty on the service provider or the sender.
Preventing Spam Emails from Clogging Your Inbox
Do the following to prevent spam emails from clogging your inbox:
Keep your email address private
The first thing you should understand if you want to stop spam emails is how to keep your email address private. For you to achieve this, you can follow these suggestions:
- Change your email privacy settings.
- Avoid posting your email address on blogs, websites, or social media. Hackers use bots to harvest email addresses to which they can send spam emails or begin to use as spambots.
Use a third-party spam filter
Most of the popular email service providers already have built-in features that block spam emails. In 2019, Gmail could block as many as 100 million spam emails. However, the built-in email filter cannot stop spam emails from reaching your inbox. Do not just delete spam emails when you find them in your inbox.
Using the Junk Mail feature to mark the email message as spam is better. This way, the email service provider will understand that it should prevent messages like these from the sender from getting into your inbox in future. Where this is deemed insufficient, you can use additional anti-spam software. This will make emails travel through two filters before they reach your inbox.
You can make use of third-party spam filters that provide advanced solutions for managing spam emails and other cyber threats. The filters use advanced algorithms and machine learning to identify and block spam emails and prevent phishing attempts and other email-based attacks.
They can also detect and block malicious attachments and URLs, preventing them from causing harm to unsuspecting users. With third-party spam filters, organisations can better manage their email security posture, reduce the risk of cyber attacks, and safeguard their sensitive data.
Refrain from subscribing to mailing lists
To avoid getting spam emails, you should avoid signing up for mailing lists. Savvy internet marketers get email addresses from social media, online forms, or purchase information from other companies. By subscribing to fewer mailing lists and websites, there will be fewer chances these spammers will have access to your email address.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission mandate companies that send bulk emails to comply with the Australian Consumer Law (ACL). This law has made it compulsory for companies to allow customers to opt out of their mailing lists.
Do not interact with spam emails
An excellent way to stop spam emails from getting into your inbox is to cease interacting with them. When you see spam emails, avoid opening or replying to them. You should send them to the Spam folder immediately. By opening such emails, you may alert the sender that the email has been opened and the account is active.
We often see emails that allow unsubscribing to the mailing list through a link. However, you need to be aware that there are times when clicking such links to unsubscribe from messages you did not subscribe to in the first place only helps scammers to verify your email.
Block spam emails
Another good way to avoid suspicious emails from getting to your inbox is by blocking them. Some email service providers have features you can use to block specific email addresses or certain types of topics.
Consult An IT Professional to Help
Security threats to your personal information and data are one of the reasons you should consider the issue of spam emails in your inbox. Many people even have a throwaway email account which they use for most of their activities online while keeping their main account for other essential businesses.
While all these attempts are reasonable, contacting a certified IT professional is advisable to look at your needs and offer you the best solution for your email account protection.