Despite promises from the government to reduce spam and prosecute illegal spammers, junk coming into our inboxes online is at an all-time high. It’s no wonder why we recently received an email from Scott S. with a question I often get from equally frustrated people trying to get a handle on annoying spam.
“Sometimes I attempt to unsubscribe from Spam email, and a pre-populated page appears, other times I’m asked to type in my email address into a blank form. Is completing this blank form safe, or are these sites just collecting good email addresses and prompting more spam?” – Scott S.
Similarly, we received a second email from James W. asking another important question about spam emails:
“I use a gmail address. I am constantly getting emails from non-solicited senders (spam or junk mail) addressed to @aol.com. For example, I received an email addressed to someone else @aol.com. What can I do to stop this?” – James W.
Let’s dive into this and go over what the best thing is to do in each of these scenarios.
Are blank forms safe for avoiding spam mail?
If you ever attempt to unsubscribe from an email, you may sometimes encounter an automatic page that confirms you have unsubscribed. Sometimes you may also get to a page where you have to fill out a form with your email address. Some of those links can cause more trouble than they solve. You may end up giving the sender a lot of information about you or even an opportunity to infect you with malware.
It is sometimes a little tricky, however, my best tip is to only officially unsubscribe by clicking the unsubscribe button in the email if you know the sender is legit. If the email is from a store you shopped for items from or somewhere else, you’re familiar with – you can go ahead and unsubscribe and just give it a few days for those emails to stop.
Regrettably, phishing attacks are successful because it is easy to fake the sender’s email or trick you into thinking the sender email looks legitimate, when in fact the spelling could be off by a few letters. In the image below you see State Farm Rewards, however, if you look closer at the email address it is firstname.lastname@example.org. That last part of the email address: cole.freightguidancee.com is a red flag that someone is trying to trick you.
If you tap a link in a fake email, even if you don’t fill out any information, you’ve confirmed that your email address is active.
How to block a sender in Gmail
- Open the email of the sender you wish to block
- Click the 3 horizontal dots next to the reply arrow
- Click Block.
How to block a sender in Yahoo
- Log in to your Yahoo email account
- Click the email you want to block
- Click the three dots at the top in the toolbar, you should see a drop-down menu that includes Block Senders
- Tap Block Senders
- Click OK.
How to block a sender in Outlook
- Select the messages or senders you want to block
- From the top toolbar, select the 3 horizontal dots
- Click Block and then Block sender
- Select OK.
How to block a sender in AOL
- Log in to your AOL account and go to your inbox
- Open an email from the sender you want to block
- Click on the three dots located in the top-right corner of the email
- In the dropdown menu that appears, click on Block Sender
- A confirmation window will appear. Click on OK to confirm that you want to block this sender.
How else can I avoid getting spam mail?
My top recommendation to avoid being inundated with spam emails is to use an alias email address. An alias email address is an additional email address that can be used to receive emails in the same mailbox as the primary email address. It acts as a forwarding address, directing emails to the primary email address.
In addition to creating throwaway email accounts for online sign-ups and other circumstances where you would not want to disclose your primary email address, alias email addresses are helpful for handling and organizing incoming communications.
Sometimes, it’s best to create various email aliases so that you don’t have to worry about getting tons of spam mail or having your information taken in a data breach. An alias email address is a great way for you to stop receiving constant spam mail by simply deleting the email alias address.
To find out my picks for private and secure email providers that come with the ability to create alias email addresses, visit CyberGuy.com/Mail.
What ways have you found effective to control spam email? Let us know by writing us at CyberGuy.com/Contact.
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