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Why do I get spam?

Why do I get spam?

One of the most common questions we get asked at Consult.PW is “Please can you stop spam being sent to my email address?”  The simple answer is NO, we can’t.  What we CAN do is to help you to take steps to reduce it.

An email address is like the address of your home.  We can set up email addresses for you, but just as we can’t stop people putting things through your letterbox, we can’t stop people sending you emails.

What we CAN do is identify where spam is coming from and block it.  However, since spammers can simply target you from another address, this will never be fool proof.  The Consult.PW server has sophisticated anti-spam software.  We are constantly adding sites to the blacklist.

It’s up to you to take as many steps as you can to REDUCE the number of spam emails landing in your inbox.  There are lots of good sites offering detailed advice but meanwhile here are a few tips from the Consult.PW team.

How do spammers get your email address?

To really understand how to reduce junk email, you have to understand how spammers got your email address in the first place and the methods they use to flood you with messages.

Leaked or stolen databases

The easiest way for spammers to collect large lists of good, active email addresses is via leaked databases. These leaks happen with frightening regularity. Organisations as big as Adobe, LinkedIn, Snapchat and Sony have all been compromised in the past few years.  There’s not much you can do to protect yourself from a spammer getting your email address in this way.

What can YOU do?

You can protect yourself from password leaks by not re-using the same password everywhere, but you can also cut down spam by not using the same email address everywhere.

A site like Have I been pwned? can tell you if your account information might have been leaked, but these sites won’t include every leak.

How can you cut down the amount of spam you get?

Many people seem to think that their email provider can stop them getting spam.  Whilst that is partly true, the most effective methods of reducing spam are those set up on the machine receiving the messages.

Train your filter

When you find spam in your inbox, don’t just delete it.  Select it and tell your mail client that this message is spam. How you do this depends on your client. For instance, if you’re using Gmail’s website, click the Report spam button in the toolbar (the icon looks like an exclamation mark inside a stop sign).

If you use Outlook, you just need one click from the menu:

The Outlook junk mail filter

You also need to train the 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. In Gmail, you click the Not spam button.  In Outlook, click on one of the three options.


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