Preventing SPAM – the Silly Pointless Annoying Mail

SPAM = Silly Pointless Annoying Mail

Let’s face it. Most of us can’t last more than 6 minutes without a quick glance at our email or messages. And unfortunately, these constant interruptions have a serious, negative impact on both our productivity and mental acuity.

The simplest solution is to close your email app so you don’t get distracted by incoming mail notifications. But most of us just aren’t willing—or able—to do that.

There is another solution – Get fewer emails!

Fewer emails means fewer notifications, and fewer notifications means fewer distractions throughout the day. And while you might not be able to ask your boss or colleagues to stop emailing you, you can however prevent spam, and other messages you don’t need from distracting you while you work.

So if you are the kind to randomly sign up for things on the Internet, then be prepared to be spammed by an overflowing number of emails.

Basically, you are a victim of spam if you:

  • Post to a newsgroup
  • Sign up for an internet service that asks for an email address
  • Give out your email address on your own website
  • Give your address to an online retailer

But let’s get one thing straight.

Unless you cut yourself off from the Internet completely, there is absolutely no way to eliminate spam emails entirely. The best thing you can do is to try and filter most of it out.

So how can you and your company tackle this issue?


From an Individual Level

My mum called me a few years ago to tell me that she got an email saying a distant relative of hers died overseas and left her a huge inheritance. “Do you think that’s true?” she asked.

Well, at least she was skeptical enough to call and ask.

These days, I don’t get many calls from my mum like that. Email providers have built-in spam filters that automatically move most spam emails to a separate folder, cluing the less suspicious of us in on the fact that an unsolicited email just might be a scam.

Still, spammers and scammers work around the clock to find new ways to work around spam filters and get emails into your inbox. But there are ways to prevent these emails and to protect yourself from spam, scam, and phishing emails.

1. Stop using your Company Email

The key thing is this – don’t be stupid. Don’t sign up for random free things on the Internet using your company email address!

The more people who have your email address, the more spam you’re going to get. So keep your address close to your heart.

If you don’t feel like flooding your normal Gmail account with spam emails, don’t resort to using your company email address! That’s even worse because you might actually miss out on important emails or deals due to the overwhelming number of emails in your inbox.

2. Don’t open Suspicious Emails

One way that spammers collect email addresses is by sending emails that contain a tracking pixel—typically a 1x1px image—which tracks whether or not an email was opened. If you open a spam email that contains a tracking pixel, the spammer gets a notification that the email was opened and now knows your email address is both active and monitored. So even if you realize after the fact that it’s spam and don’t click any links within the email, it’s too late.

The best way to avoid having your email address captured in this way is simply this:

If you do not recognize the sender an email is from, well then, don’t open it.

However, that’s not always practical—an email from an unknown sender could be a current customer, potential customer, job offer, or other unexpected but important message. If you need to open emails from senders you don’t recognize, there are ways to avoid getting your email addresses captured by senders using tracking pixels.

If you use Outlook 365, 2016, 2013, 2010, or 2007, images are blocked by default. Never ask Outlook to display images from senders you don’t recognize, and you should be safe from most tracking pixels. If you use Outlook.com, images display by default, and there’s no way currently to disable it. If you’re concerned about tracking pixels, it might be worth upgrading to Office 365.

3. Remember to Unsubscribe

So previously, I just said do not open emails from senders you do not recognize. So how in the world do you unsubscribe?

Well, if the senders are unrecognizable, then do not open! However, if they are newsletters or promotional emails from companies you recognize, then remember to unsubscribe from them if you are no longer interested in receiving their emails! These links usually appear down at the bottom of an email—because most of the time, these senders do not really want you to unsubscribe.

4. Train your Filter

Just like how a dog can be trained to learn new tricks, your computer can do so as well!

When you find spam in your inbox, don’t just delete it.

When an unsolicited email makes an appearance in your inbox, never just delete it. Always mark it as spam. This is how the automatic spam filters learn to identify spam and filter it out.

In Outlook, right-click on the spam email in your inbox and select “Mark as junk.”

This tells your provider which emails you don’t want to receive, and—depending on your provider—may even help it learn which email addresses and domains should be considered spam for everyone.

Conversely, you also need to train your mail client about your false positives. Once a day, go through your spam folder looking for messages that don’t belong there. When you find one, select it and tell the client that it made a mistake.


From a Company Level

According to Spam Laws, 14.5 billion email messages per day are spams, which accounts for 45 to 73 % of the entire email traffic. If we analyse these shocking numbers, it quickly becomes understandable why businesses focus on minimising spam. Unwanted emails interrupt the workflow of the whole team, and they affect work productivity. Furthermore, they can pose a considerable risk to the security of the company.

Constantly deleting spam emails is a tedious task, and it’s like giving your employees a time-wasting exercise, which is not even pleasurable.

Did you know… It takes 16 seconds for each of your employees to delete one single spam email!

Again, there are ways to prevent these emails to protect your company’s employees.

1. Use Domain Privacy

Businesses that use a private domain do have an advantage when it comes to spam filtering. Not only are the email address and personal information protected, but if anybody wants to see your information, they have to post a request, which is forwarded to you. The fine line here would be to have one email address which is public and opened for customers and clients to reach you. You can use a generic address like contact@mycompany.com or info@mycompany.com, and conceal the email addresses of all your other employees.

2. Do NOT publish your Employees’ Emails online

This can be tricky, since many of us rely on the Internet for business. But there are ways around it.

So instead of publishing your employees’ email addresses online, have prospects fill out a contact form on your website. This lets you see their email address before they see yours.

3. Use an Anti-Spam Filter

If you want an additional layer of protection beyond what your email client provides, then you can also install an anti-spam software specifically to filter spam from your inbox.

If you’re looking for a free spam-filtering software, applications such as Spamhilator (Windows) or SpamSieve (MacOS) can provide a higher detection rate.

Office 365 is built-in with an anti-spam filter so that your email is protected from the moment you receive your first email.


Unsure how to install an anti-spam filter on Office 365? Click the green button below!


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