- Internet & the Web
How to Stop Getting Spam Email
My Inbox is Full of Spam Email! Help!
Is your inbox jammed with spam messages?
Chances are, this was at some point a self-inflicted wound.
Are you tired of losing important messages in the clutter of ads, spammy pass-alongs, newsletters you don't have time to read and other junk?
Don't fret - you can indeed get rid of spam email, and you can control it considerably in the future.
The first thing to do is to decide who you really want to hear from by email.
And the second thing to do is to prioritize other types of mail.
Here's how to get started:
Tips for Protecting Your Email Address
How to Stop Spam Email From Friends
Do you have friends who constantly send you jokes, 'cute' photos, chain messages promising that you'll have bad luck if you don't forward them and other things you don't particularly want?
When the Internet first hit, some people went overboard in forwarding messages every day. It seemed everything looked 'funny,' or 'cute' and it was hard to resist 'sharing' it.
In many cases, the flood has slowed down simply because it's no longer a novelty.
But in other cases, you may still be getting far-too-many messages from a few people.
Here's how to address this problem:
- If it's someone you'd like to hear from, simply politely ask them to take you off those distribution lists. Let them know you love hearing from them, but you are swamped and you'd like their help in managing your inbox. Most people will be happy to comply.
- If there are personal reasons you can't ask this favor, consider putting the sender on a special incoming flagged list in your inbox (most email systems offer this option) or give them a 'special' email address you have created just for spam. I have one email address for this purpose - it's used for people who are well-meaning, but abuse the system.
If there are people you don't want to hear from, there's power at your fingertips. BLOCK these people. Don't feel badly - you have the right to do this - it's your life. And you can always unblock them if things change in the future.
What Do YOU Think?
What do you think about spam email?
How to Organize Your Inbox to Eliminate Spam Email Messages
It might sound contradictory, but this is one case where, in the long run, more is less.
If you have only one email account, you're inviting spam messages right off the bat. The way to control your inbox is to divide your life into various sections and create separate email accounts for each 'department.'
While this sounds confusing at first, it ultimately organizes your incoming messages and saves you huge amounts of time. It also protects your privacy, because the address you give to your friends and family (the ones you WANT to hear from) is not the same one you'll give to other 'departments' in your life.
Your departments might include the following categories:
- Work (Regular Job)
- Part-time or Consulting Work
- Hobbies or Volunteer Work
- Junk Mail
If possible, create a new personal account for your close family and associates. It might take time to wean people over to a new address, but it's worth it.
While you're at it, if your personal email is associated with a paid Internet provider, you might be better served to get a 'generic' email address from a service such as Yahoo, Gmail or one of the other popular services.
This will keep you from being financially tied to this service provider. You will already have an account that's untethered, and you can use it with any Internet service.
Most smart phones and other electronic devices allow you to import multiple email accounts. You can label these with the above designations, and your incoming mail will be automatically sorted and placed into the right group. It will make your life easier. Trust me.
Quick Tips to Organize Your Email Inbox
How to Control | Presort Incoming Email
First, "Unsubscribe" to anything you don't really need to get in the future.
Almost all electronic mailing lists have an 'unsubscribe' button at the bottom of the message. These do work. Sometimes you have to be persistent, but regulations on your side, and agencies that control things like the Internet and communication don't take kindly to companies that sidestep their rules.
If possible, get on a 'do not contact' or 'do not sell my information' list with banks, credit card companies, stores where you have accounts and other memberships.
Forward All Messages at First:
If you've been able to create an entirely new email identity or address for personal messages, you will have an easy time with this part.
Notify all your friends and family of your NEW address. Then, forward incoming mail from your old address to your new one.
Meanwhile, and in addition to forwarding, put an 'automatic reply' on your old email address to remind people you have a new address. People will not realize you've also forwarded your messages, and you won't miss your emails, because you'll still get them.
You can begin spotting the strays (those who didn't pay attention to your new address) right away. Just send them a note and ask them to use your new address.
Change Email Addresses in Records:
This also takes a bit of time, but ultimately, it works.
Start making a list of all emails you get from businesses and memberships. Then go to your profile in those groups and change your email address to the new (compartmentalized) address you've created for clubs, volunteer work, your career, whatever.
These changes are entered into systems automatically, so you should not continue getting email to the wrong address.
If you have forwarded all messages from your old email address to your new inbox (you can even forward things to a 'junk' email box to start, if you want), you can spot the outliers and correct the emails used by these groups.
Emailed Electronic Bills Save Paper | the Environment
Go Paperless With Electronic Bills
Once you have organized your emails, you can use your new e-filing system to cut down on junk mail and paper mail, too.
Do you still get the daily newspaper? Many papers offer online subscriptions now, and you can use your "Bills" or "Junk" email address to get these versions each day. You'll save a few trees, and cut down on clutter in your house.
Go paperless with your credit cards, mortgage payment, other subscriptions, memberships, and anything else you currently get via snail mail.
Ask if electronic billing or membership is available, and sign up for it as soon as you can. If they're not yet there, they will be soon; almost every company is offering paperless services as we go forward, because consumers are demanding it, and the environment demands it, too.
Sign up for a service such as Catalog Choice to cut down on junk mail, too. This service gets you off of mailing lists and instructs firms not to sell your contact information.