How to protect yourself from unwanted spam

A woman sitting at a laptop, looking upset.

Sick of sifting through e-mail spam? Make it stop!

Everyone who does business online needs to know how to keep e-mail inboxes from filling up with unwanted junk. Here are a few practical tips that can help.

Have more than one e-mail

Don’t use the e-mail you give out to friends and family for business. Keeping your business and personal affairs separate will save you a lot of grief. Have at least two e-mails: one to use for friends and family and the other to give out to businesses.

Don’t give out cell phone numbers

Use a land line when dealing with businesses, and make sure you register it on the National Do Not Call list. If solicitors call, tell them the first time they are not allowed to call that number. Violations of Do Not Call regulations can amount to hefty fines.

This also protects your cell phone from unwanted text messages. If you do get a text from a solicitor, reply “STOP.” Fines for SMS spam can be very high. Still, the best defense is to avoid giving out your cell number online.

What to do if you already gave out your e-mail to businesses

If your e-mail address is being bombarded by spammers, the best thing to do might be to abandon your e-mail and start over. This is a particularly good option if you only have one e-mail. Most new e-mail accounts allow you to announce to contacts from your old email that you have a new e-mail. Get a new e-mail address and notify only those who you wish to continue receiving mail from.

Want to keep your e-mail?

If you’re receiving too much e-mail spam but you want to keep your current e-mail address, there are a few things that can make life a little easier. First, if your e-mail provider provides the option, you can report e-mails as spam. However, sometimes this can up your spam folder and make it difficult to find and pull out good e-mails that accidentally made their way into it.

Filters are your friend

Learning how to create custom filters is a great way to clean up your e-mail account. Most major e-mail providers have a filtering system. Many let you create rules that will automatically delete specific incoming message.


Any email from should go straight to spam and skip inbox.
Any email from should be automatically deleted and reported as spam.
Any email with “THIS WORD” in it should be sent to spam or auto deleted.

There are plenty of filter combinations you can set up. Look for “Options” or “Settings” or a similar navigation link in your e-mail to find the right section of the account to create these filters. Many e-mail systems have help guides that show you how to make these types of filters.

Avoid the frustrations

There is nothing more frustrating than getting too many e-mails and wasting your time deleting them. Make those chores automatic if you  want to keep an e-mail account as your primary e-mail. Remember, if you do want to make a new e-mail account, you don’t have to abandon the other; keep it for future dealings you have with companies online.

Other recent posts by bryanh