The term “spam” refers to unwanted, unsolicited emails, the digital equivalent of the junk mail in your physical mailbox. Spam may contain benign advertising, malicious code, or scams designed to collect your personal information. Unfortunately, there is no way to escape spam in the digital age, but here are a few tips to help you deal with junk email.
- Make Sure Your Email Has a Spam Filter
Most web-based email clients, like Yahoo, Gmail, or Outlook, have built in spam filters that automatically send probable spam to a separate folder labeled “Spam” or “Junk”. If you’re not sure if you have a spam filter, just look for one of those names in your folders. These filters will sometimes send legitimate messages into the spam folder, so it’s also a good idea to check the folder if you’re expecting a message but haven’t seen it yet.
- Keep an Eye Out for Suspicious Emails
Even with spam filtering, some emails can slip through into your inbox. Look carefully at each email before you open it. Spam addresses can put legitimate looking names on their messages, so put your mouse over the name (without clicking) to show the email address itself. Many spam addresses use strange spellings or odd domains. Also look at the subject line. If it looks like advertising, or promises payment, that’s a good indication it’s spam.
- When You Find Spam, Get Rid of It
If you suspect an email is spam, don’t open it! Sometimes, opening the message is all it takes to infect your computer with malware. When you find a spam email, check to see if your email client has a “mark as spam” option, usually somewhere near the delete option. Using this function helps to improve your spam filtering by pointing out the messages that got through. If you don’t have that option, just delete the message immediately.
Spam is inescapable as long as you use email, but you don’t have to fall prey to spammers’ scams and viruses if you know what to look for to avoid opening spam in the first place.
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