How to stop spam emails for more peace of mind

Yaron Dror

October 10, 2023

  • # Product
  • # Fraud Prevention
  • # Account Protection

Email isn’t dead — and neither is the daily chore of trashing the spam backlog. 

And spam emails aren’t just annoying, with their incessant presence and gaudy subject lines. These messages often threaten your sensitive information, containing phishing attempts or malware.

Luckily, we care about that overly cluttered and dangerous inbox of yours. We’ll discuss why spamming occurs, how threatening these messages can be, and how to stop spam emails. 

What are spam emails?

Spam emails are any message you didn’t opt in to receive. Or, you may have opted in without knowing, like as a requirement for making a purchase online. You can often unsubscribe to a reputable company’s spam but must trash and report scammer emails. 

Why do you get spam emails?

It can be uncomfortable knowing so many fraudulent — and sometimes reputable — companies have your email address. Unfortunately, there are many ways this can happen, like the following:

  • Shared or leaked information: Via illegal marketplaces, company data breaches, or fine-print purchasing requirements, your email might be shared with other companies or scammers.

  • Email harvesting: Spammers can use sophisticated tools to scrape — or "harvest" — email addresses from websites, forums, and social media.

  • Unsubscribed newsletters: Signing up for online services or purchasing items often requires you to agree to receive newsletters and promotional emails. And even if you unsubscribe later, the company might’ve shared your info with third parties.

  • Spoofing: When scammers forge — or “spoof” — email addresses and headers so they’re seemingly from a reputable organization, it’s more difficult for email platforms like Gmail to filter these emails out.

The dangers of opening spam emails

Some spam emails are harmless, like when your favorite store sends too many messages about discounts. But scammers are becoming increasingly good at creating authentic-looking messages that contain threats to your sensitive information.

Here are a few of the most common spam email threats:

  • Malicious links: Spam emails often contain links that, when clicked, redirect you to phishing websites designed to steal your credit card details. And it’s not always easy to block phishing emails, as these messages are often disguised as coming from a legitimate company. 

  • Malware attachments: Avoid clicking on attachments from unknown senders, as these links might harbor malware or spyware viruses that can infect your device to steal sensitive data.

  • Scam attempts: Senders might ask for your personal information or money while posing as legitimate institutions or people you know.

  • Tracking pixels: Some spam emails contain tracking pixels that notify the sender once you’ve opened the message, confirming that your email address is active, which can lead to more spam. And they might use the data collected through these tracking pixels to tailor more deceptive and enticing emails, making it even harder to identify and avoid them.

How to stop spam emails: 8 tips

Ready to tidy your inbox while improving your overall data security measures? Here are eight email spam prevention tips for greater peace of mind:

  1. Report the message as spam: To mark emails as spam, use your email platform’s “Report Spam” feature. This moves the message to your spam folder and helps the platform identify and clear similar emails in the future.

  2. Block the sender: If you keep receiving spam from the same address, block the sender. 

  3. Use an email alias: Many web browsers offer alias services to protect your actual email address, masking it from the receiver. Or you can download the IronVest browser extension for automatic email address masking across sites.

  4. Change your privacy settings: Configure your settings to provide maximum spam protection.

  5. Unsubscribe from unwanted newsletters: Unsubscribe whenever you receive newsletters you didn’t know you signed up for or don’t want anymore.

  6. Check if your email has been leaked: Services like “Have I Been Pwned” can indicate whether your email has been shared with scammers via a data breach or other cyber-threat.

  7. Use a secondary email address: Have a secondary email address for non-important communications, subscriptions, and online registrations to keep your primary inbox clear. 

  8. Use a third-party email filter: Consider using a third-party security filter like IronVest’s InboxGuard to spot scam emails.

Frequently asked questions

Knowledge is power. Here are answers to some of the most common questions regarding spam emails and general email security.

Why am I suddenly getting a lot of spam emails?

A sudden spam surge might indicate that your email was leaked from another platform or sold on an illegal online marketplace. If the above eight steps don’t reduce the spam load, you might want to create a new email address. 

How do I block spam emails on my iPhone?

Open up your email app, mark any spam emails that come in as junk, and block individual senders. Or you could also use a third-party email filtering app. 

What’s Apple’s Hide My Email feature? 

This feature lets users create unique, random email addresses, and messages received by these addresses are forwarded to the person’s actual inbox. Using this feature means you can protect your personal information and avoid spam. 

IronVest offers a similar suite of features designed to retain your online privacy, like masked emails, phone numbers, and credit cards.

How can I identify a scam email?

Watch for generic greetings, name misspellings, unfamiliar senders, and requests for personal information or money. And if an email comes from a seemingly reputable organization, check that the company URL is correctly spelled and uses “https” rather than “http” to showcase its updated SSL certificate. 

Is unsubscribing from spam emails safe?

It’s always safe to unsubscribe from legitimate newsletters and promotional emails, but avoid clicking on unsubscribe links in emails that seem fraudulent, as these might contain viruses or lead to further data leaks.

What should I do if I've fallen for an email scam?

Here are a few steps you can take immediately after realizing you’ve fallen for a scam:

Secure your inbox with IronVest

As safe as you can make your inbox, you likely use this crucial piece of information — an email address — across various digital platforms. Ensure this data is safe across all sites and platforms by downloading the IronVest browser extension or mobile app.

If you’re a business user, let IronVest support your journey to complete data security with InboxGuard, a feature that offers AI-powered, multi-layered phishing protection and real-time contextual awareness training. Get IronVest today — because freedom comes when your privacy is protected.

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