We recently published an article about how to reduce junk mail in your physical mailbox. If you followed the suggestions in that article, you’re likely receiving a significantly reduced amount of snail mail junk mail. Now it’s time to start tackling that digital mountain of junk mail in your email inbox. Check out the tips below to keep your inbox clean.
1. Sign up for the Direct Marketer’s Association Email Preference Service
To reduce your junk email, sign up for the Direct Marketer’s Association Email Preference Service (eMPS) here. Although registration with eMPS will help reduce the number of emails you receive, it won’t stop all commercial emails. You may continue to receive emails from groups or advertisers who don’t use eMPS to clean their lists. Registration is free and is effective for six years from your sign-up date.
2. Use two different email addresses
Create two email addresses. Use one email address to give out to people you trust and want to receive email from. Use another email address for when you do things such as shop online, post on message boards and sign up for promotions. While this dual email system won’t technically eliminate junk email, it will keep it separate from your important email.
3. Manually unsubscribe from junk emails
Most commercial emails that you receive (e.g., Groupon emails) can typically be manually unsubscribed from by clicking on the link at the bottom of the email that says “Unsubscribe Me” or something similar. If no such link exists, there should be information in the email that tells you how to unsubscribe from the email (e.g., “email firstname.lastname@example.org using the subject line: unsubscribe”). If your email account lets you search the body of your emails for a specific word, I recommend searching for emails that contain the word “unsubscribe” in the body of the email to efficiently locate a good chunk of junk emails.
4. Sign up for Unroll.Me
For a highly efficient way to unsubscribe from unwanted emails, sign up for a free account at Unroll.Me. After registering, sign in to your account and click on “Edit Subscriptions” at the top of your screen. You’ll then see a list of emails you can unsubscribe from. If you want to unsubscribe from a particular email, just click on the unsubscribe button.
5. Pay close attention when filling out forms
Be extremely careful when filling out any forms that require your email address (e.g., when registering software, joining certain websites, entering sweepstakes, signing up for promotional offers, etc.). Most of these forms include a checkbox, which is often already checked as a default setting, asking if you agree to receive emails from them. Make sure you un-check these checkboxes before submitting your form.
6. Disguise your email when posting online
If you post in blog comments, discussion forums, message boards, newsgroups and other types of online postings, be aware that spammers have special programs to extract your email address from your postings. To keep this from happening, if you’re going to post your email address online, make sure you disguise it. For example, if your real email address is KrazyCouponer@gmail.com, instead of posting that address post “KrazyCouponer at gee mail dot com” or “KrazyCouponer@gmail_delete_this_.com”.
7. Use a long, complicated email
To find email addresses for spamming, spammers often guess simple emails. To beat spammers, use a long, complicated email address that contains the following elements:
- At least 10 characters
- More than one word
- A word segment
- Numbers and letters
- An underscore
For example, instead of using “AnnaJones@gmail.com”, use “53KrazyCoupon_Grl6@gmail.com”. Don’t use a name in your email address.
8. Check to see if your email address has been compromised
In the past few years, popular sites (e.g., gawker.com and adobe.com) have been compromised and user accounts (including email address and password information) on these sites were leaked to spammers. To see if your email address or username was exposed during one of these security breakdowns, enter your email address or username in the search box on HaveIBeenPwned.com.
9. Don’t use your email address as your username on social media
Spammers frequently get email addresses from social media. If your username on social media platforms (e.g., Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) is the same as your email address (e.g., http://www.facebook.com/annajones23 and email@example.com), spammers can easily glean your email address.
10. Don’t forward chain emails
If you receive a chain email, don’t forward it on because your email address will remain in the email and can be used by anyone who receives the email in the future. When you forward a chain email, you’re helping spammers collect new e-mail addresses.