What Is Spam?
By definition, spam is an email or message that is irrelevant, inappropriate, unwanted and intrusive.
The content of spam emails are written by people but that’s where human contact ends. Computer programs, known as spambots, are responsible for pumping out millions of emails a day to every address from A to Z.
If you use your email address anywhere on the Internet it is only a matter of time before you receive spam.
How Your Email Lands On Mailing Lists
The most common question we get is, “how in the world did this company get my information?” Read on for the answer.
Mailing lists are sought after commodities. For example, RadioShack angered many last year when news of the sale of millions of customer records were put up for sale as part of its bankruptcy.
When websites get hacked, their customer database is a goldmine to hackers. Customers and mailing lists are sold online to be used for phishing campaigns by digital crooks.
You. Yes, you
Many forms, particularly online shopping checkouts, have an option to subscribe to the company’s newsletter. If the box is already checked for you (and you’re not paying attention), you may sign up for a newsletter you don’t want without realizing it.
How to Reduce Spam
Change Spam Filter Settings
Almost all email providers (@aol.com, @gmail.com, etc.) have built in anti-spam settings that you can’t or don’t need to configure yourself.
Disposable Email Address
Email addresses are free. It’s a good idea to have at least two. One for people such as friends and family to reach you. The other for logging in to social networks (such as Facebook), online shopping (such as Amazon) or other services.
Interested in getting a new email address? We recommend Gmail.
Removing Spam Once You Have It
As mentioned above, spam is inevitable, and most email providers have filters preventing most of it from reaching your inbox. However, some emails can still get through. This section describes how to keep these messages out of your inbox and in the Spam/Junk where they belong.
Replying “take me off your list” to spam emails won’t stop them from coming. As a matter of fact, some spambots will take your reply as confirmation that you’re a real person, and prioritize you on their lists!
Unsubscribe is your first step to removing spam. Most emails from legitimate marketers will have an unsubscribe message at the very bottom (usually in tiny print). Click on the unsubscribe link to open a web page.
You should pay attention to this web page before closing it. It’s common to have to enter your email address in a form to complete the unsubscribe process.
Mark As Spam
The worst offenders have no unsubscribe link at all, or don’t honor the promise to stop sending mail. This is when we have to take matters into our own hands with the “Mark as Spam” button. Pressing this button will move the message to the spam/junk folder and block the email address from contacting you in the future. Below you’ll find pictures for the most common email providers.