Spam has been an issue for a long time, and many people either forget about it or accept it. Thanks to improvements in automatic filters from email providers and third-party services, the onslaught of fake offers and promised contest winnings are mostly kept out of sight. While it's difficult to prevent spam, getting rid of it entirely is improbable. The greatest hope is that service providers can modify their filters and use AI to defend against current assaults. Here are some steps you can take to avoid and minimize the amount of spam in your inbox.
Be security conscious
The majority of your spam can be more annoying than harmful. Nonetheless, utilize a unique and robust password and two-factor authentication on your account. If you use Google, do the Google Security Checkup to ensure that no dangerous items are accessing your computer.
Turn off auto-load for images
When spammers get any indication that their email was received, you are marked as even more of a target for future spam. Make sure your email settings don't load any images from unknown senders, making it harder for them to use tracking pixels. Use your best discretion when opening any emails or clicking accompanying links.
Disguise your online accounts
Every time you sign up for something online with your email address, you risk your information ending up with third-party marketers or being exposed to a hack or data breach. One way to keep your email address unknown is not to use it for anything other than personal correspondence or important accounts, like your bank. You may create a second email address solely for logins and purchases, allowing it to become a garbage can of marketing emails. Another alternative is to use an alias and non-personal photos.
Don't click unsubscribe within an email
Avoid clicking the "unsubscribe" link in an email unless you're sure it's from a specific company. Some malicious spam appears to look like genuine marketing emails and promotions. Instead, allow your email service to unsubscribe for you.
Report spam when needed
Mark the email as spam. This will not immediately impact your life since the spammer has moved on, but it does provide your email provider with more data to try to keep you and others safe.
Use context clues
Don't trust any email. If it appears to be from someone you know but seems a bit off, text or contact them another way to verify that it's not a scam. If you receive a worrisome email from a major firm informing you about a significant charge or an update on an order you don't recall placing, be cautious. On a computer, hover over any links to see where URLs go, and read closely to see if there are typos like “bankofarnerica.com.” Phishing emails can be tricky – in this example, an “r” and “n” are used to look like an “m” at first glance.
Double-check your email security
Plug your email address into haveibeenpwned.com and see how many breaches have appeared. Use a password manager to avoid being the victim of account breaches or hacks. Password managers can also notify you when different passwords appear in attacks and breaches, as well as whether the passwords you use are easily guessable or overused.
If all else fails, start over
If your account has been compromised and filled to the brim with spam, it would be best to cut your losses and start fresh with a new address just for personal or work communication. If you use that old address for online accounts, don't delete it, or you'll have to go through and update the contact information for every single one.
In the last six months, many people using free-email services have noticed a surge of unwanted scam emails slipping through the filters and landing in their inboxes. Therefore, proactively monitoring your email security is now more critical than ever. Though it may be time-consuming, following these steps and guidelines is the easiest and most effective way to ensure your inbox is spam-free and your personal information is secure.
SeedSpark is always happy to help our clients learn more about the ever-evolving cybersecurity landscape. Contact us today to learn how we use Ironscales to keep hackers out of employees’ inboxes with email security and phishing identification training.