6 tips on how to finally get rid of annoying spam mails

Have you once again received a tempting Viagra offer or inherited a lot of money in a faraway country? Then on the one hand you can congratulate yourself, but on the other hand you can finally take care of the annoying spam in your email inbox. atechbook gives 6 tips.

Just about everyone who has an e-mail address has received a spam e-mail at some point. In terms of content, the messages sometimes seem quite adventurous: A stranger has informed you about winning the lottery in Spain? Your neighbor, whom you have never heard of, has fallen madly in love with you and now wants you to follow her profile on a dating website? Even though spam emails are sometimes quite entertaining to read, they are mainly annoying. On the one hand, they clutter up your inbox and on the other hand, they often contain hidden dangers. atechbook gives six tips on how you should react to spam mails and how to noticeably reduce the number of unwanted messages in your inbox.

What exactly is a spam mail?

So-called spam mails are unsolicited (mass) mails. As a rule, the messages have a commercial background; the recipient is to be encouraged to buy a certain product. Other common types of spam include phishing e-mails, which primarily aim to obtain user data, and virus-infected spam. In Germany, the average volume of spam mails per day is around 150 million, according to Statista – meaning that more than half of all mails hidden daily consist of unsolicited mass messages.

Fun fact on the side: The term “spam”, by the way, originally comes from the so-called “breakfast meat” of the Hormel brand. As part of a customer contest, the canned meat was renamed from “Hormel’s Spiced Ham” to “Spam” – an artificial word derived from “Spiced Ham.” Following a popular sketch by the group Monty Python, the term has been increasingly used for unsolicited mass advertising mails. Alternatively, there is also talk of junk mail.

Tip No. 1: Keep your mail address as secret as possible

Never give your e-mail address to strangers or people you do not trust. Treat the e-mail address like a home address or telephone number. Also avoid using your e-mail address in forums or comment columns of blogs, and if you do – pay attention to how the website operators handle your user data when you register. It may be worthwhile to create a separate mail account for orders, competitions and forums. If your e-mail address is on a public website, you should, if possible, insert it there as an image rather than in text form, or at least put the @ sign in brackets or otherwise disguise it. In this way you can make it more difficult for bots to read the data.

Tip No. 2: The spam filter can learn

Delete spam mails? Yes, but not necessarily immediately. Most mail operators now work with spam filters; Google, for example, integrated artificial intelligence into its filter at the beginning of 2019. To make your spam filter learn, mark unwanted mails as spam or push them to the appropriate junk mail folder. That way, the unwanted ads will probably end up right there the next time. Mistakes can happen in the process, of course, so that regular messages also end up in the spam folder. In this case, the filter usually learns over time as well, if you consistently check the corresponding mails and move them back to your inbox.

Tip No. 3: Clicking forbidden

Most important rule: Never click on links! In the best case, this only confirms to the sender that your e-mail address exists. The consequence is even more spam. Also attachments from unknown senders should never (!) be downloaded. In the worst case, dangerous malware hides in the sent data. Sometimes you receive spam mails from colleagues or friends. Here, too, you should exercise caution and, if necessary, check with the sender.

By the way, be careful with links that pretend to remove the recipient from the addressee list when activated! Often these then have the exact opposite effect and they simply verify your address as a result. Of course, this does not apply to unsubscribing from regular newsletters that you have signed up for yourself in the past.

A victim reports: What happens when your email password is hacked

Tip No. 4: Numbers and special characters help against bots

Spammers usually send their mails around with the help of bots, which generate mail addresses randomly, i.e. combine well-known names with various domains. So if your email address also contains numbers or special characters, you make it harder for the bots to find you.

Tip no. 5: Never reply to or forward spam mails

Do not reply and do not forward the mail to anyone. In this case, the same principle applies as in point 3: any interaction with the mail only confirms to the spammer that the mail address actually exists and is being used. Instead, follow tip 2 and mark unwanted messages as spam or junk mail.

The German Federal Office for Information Security (BSI) also recommends never opening attachments to messages that seem dubious. Even Word documents or images can be contaminated with a virus. And if the sender asks you to enter data, even sensitive data such as your account number, or even requests payment, you should act with caution.

Tip no. 6: Entry on a “Robinson list

The so-called “Robinson list” of the Interessenverband Deutsches Internet (I.D.I.) offers additional protection against junk mail. Users enter their e-mail address, name and address on this list. Registered companies then delete the names entered there from their databases. However, companies are not obliged to compare the lists with each other, so the effect is comparatively small. As a rule, however, it cannot do any harm.

Sometimes only a change helps

The flood of spam mails has become unmanageable and absolutely unbearable for you? Then you should think about a mail move including a new address. Some of the above tips will work most effectively in this case. With a new address you can then, if necessary, directly consider a few of the above tips, such as No. 4, by including numbers or special characters in the address.

The legal situation with spam messages

According to Section 7 of the Unfair Competition Act (UWG), only those who have given their express consent may receive advertising by mail. However, to a certain extent, advertising may still be carried out specifically via “electronic mail” if the customer has not explicitly objected to the use of his or her mail address for advertising purposes or if advertising is carried out for a similar product to one in which the customer is already explicitly interested. In such a case, however, the advertiser must clearly mark his identity and also clearly communicate to the customer that he can unsubscribe from the advertising at any time.

Purely automatically generated spam messages, especially those with dubious content such as lottery winnings or invitations to porn sites, are therefore illegal contacts that violate the general right of privacy. Those affected can complain to the eco association, for example.