Spam emails are unwanted emails that are sent to people who haven’t agreed to receive them. Such emails are sent for the promotion of a service/product or used for malicious and fraudulent purposes. Examples of such spam include money scams and emails containing viruses as attachments. In this article, you will learn how to identify spam emails and 3 easy ways to avoid clicking and blocking them.
Also, Read | 5 Ways to Report Online Fraud in Shopping in India
Ways to Avoid Clicking Links in Spam Emails, Block Them
Before diving deeper into avoiding spam emails, let us first understand ‘How does a spammer get your email address?’. This can happen due to several reasons, some of the common reasons are:
- You’ve made your email address public by posting it on some social website or have used it to participate in a public event.
- Your email address is part of a large data breach that has been done by some hacker and has been posted online.
- You’ve accidentally clicked a malicious link and provided information without checking its genuineness.
Identify and Avoid Clicking Links in Spam Emails
The first and Foremost step for this procedure is to understand the identification of spam. You can determine whether an email is a spam or not by following these 3 easy steps.
1. Check the Sender’s Email Address
The first step to identify a spam email is to check the sender’s email address. Most fraudulent emails pretend to replicate an email from a reputed brand/service. However, the sender’s email address remains unrecognized.
In the above example, you can observe that the sender is pretending to be sending an email from Amazon.com. But, Amazon.com doesn’t use an email address like ‘firstname.lastname@example.org’ to send an email to their customers. This indicates that the email is spam and clearly sent for malicious purposes.
2. Check the Source (Origin) of the Email
The Second method to identify the presence of spam mail is to check the source of the email. If you are using Gmail, you can check this easily by doing the following steps.
- Open the email that you suspect is spam.
- Click on the three-dots icon on the right side of the mail header.
- Now click on Show Original to open the source of the email address.
- Scroll Down to check the “To, From, Reply to” addresses in the source. If it is a spam email, they will be usually different and suspicious to read/undisclosed.
Spammers keep the ‘Reply to’ address different from a nonexistent email address so that they can’t receive any replies.
3. Observe Typos (Mistakes) or Poor Formatting
The third way to determine a spam email is to look for the formatting of the email. In most cases, Spam emails contain typos (Spelling Mistakes) or have poor formatting of the content. For example,
In the above example, you can clearly observe poor formatting and the presence of grammatical mistakes that proves that it is a spam email. Hence, avoid clicking any links provided in such emails.
4. Observe Links and Attachments Asking for Personal Info or Money
Spam emails asking for personal information and demanding money through “sextortion” are fairly common in the spam world. Such emails will blackmail you for sending money in the form of Bitcoins. Such types of emails claim the presence of fake pornographic evidence against you. DON’T PANIC! Ignore such emails and report them to the Cybercrime Cell.
Blocking Spam Emails
Now that you have learned how to identify the presence of a spam email, let’s learn how to avoid such emails from reaching your account by blocking them.
1. Use an Anti-Spam Software
There are lots of reliable Anti-Spam Software that are available on the internet from various cyber-security companies such as Norton. This software continuously scans and looks for suspicious email addresses. These emails might contain malicious links and are blocked by this software before they reach your inbox. Many Antivirus Software these days are available as a bundle application offering complete spam filter protection.
2. Use Gmail Spam Filtering
Gmail provides its users the ability to scan the mails automatically to inform the user about spam. Gmail automatically identifies and clubs together all the spam emails in the ‘Spam‘ Tab.
Alternatively, if you think that a particular email is spam, you can also manually mark it as Spam to avoid receiving it.
Also, Read how to create a spam filter on Gmail.
3. Use an alternate E-mail address
To be on the safer side and to avoid receiving spam emails, create and use an alternate ‘throwaway’ email address. This will help you to stay safe from spammers in all kinds of social and public participation/engagements. Try to not use your Personal or Work Account for Social interactions.
If you are want to know whether your email address or even phone number has been part of any data leak, you can use services like ‘Have I Been PWned?’ and enter your email address there. It will inform you whether your account is compromised and you can change your password or even the email ID.
Related | 3 ways to Check If Your Email ID has Leaked in a Data Breach
In this article, you might have learned how to identify, avoid and block spam emails from your email address. If you find this article informative, please share it with your loved ones to help them be safe. Hit like and stay tuned for more such informative articles.
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