[7 Ways to Stop Spam Emails From Reaching Your Inbox]
Take a moment and look at the Spam box in your email. How much email is there? Probably a lot. I bet tons of it is irrelevant, aggressive, scamming, or even risky, such as phishing emails. Now take another moment and think about the last time you had to mark a message as spam or move it to the Junk mail folder.
Is it happening a lot? Have you found yourself creating numerous junk mail filters? Are you tired of the madness?
Typically, most of the junk mail we receive every day is pretty innocuous and contains mindless stuff, such as a sender trying to get you to buy something or check out sales ads. But there’s that small percentage of mail that is very dangerous. Spammers use very creative methods in attempts to steal your passwords and other personal information by trying to trick you into going to a website that pretends to be something it’s not or to get you to download remote support tools that really install keyloggers and malware on your computer. This could lead to cybercriminals gaining access to your computer, smartphone, and other devices, and is why even in today’s day and age, antivirus and anti-malware apps are still required.
If you’re running a business, this becomes even scarier as you have end-users in your organization who will certainly be targeted with malware-laden spam emails. These often look like random invoice emails, Google Drive/Dropbox/Box.com file shares from someone that is familiar to them, but they didn’t really send it, and other super creative ways to target high-level people in a business. Even an end-user clicking a single link in their work email can compromise an entire email server.
3 out of every 5 email messages that are sent today are spam. One study estimated over 55 billion spam messages are sent each day.
How do you protect yourself from the “clean spam” and the “naughty spam” though? Keep reading to find out how the following methods will help you keep your email safe and clean – out of the hands of spammers that could affect your business.
Table of Contents
- Why Am I Getting Lots of Spam Emails?
- What Are the Main Signs of Spam Emails?
- 7 Ways to Stop Spam Emails From Reaching Your Inbox
- Are There Any Technical Methods I Can Use to Stop Spam Emails From Reaching My Inbox?
Why Am I Getting Lots of Spam Emails?
First, let’s cover a few reasons why you’re receiving so much junk/spam email.
Typically when you create a new email address, you’ll only receive emails from companies you do business with, or people you know, at least in the beginning. Then as time goes by, it’s as if by magic somehow your Spam box gets more and more full with each passing day.
What happened to that shiny new email? Here are some reasons you’re getting a lot of spam emails:
- Your email address contains commonly used words, like “webmaster,” “sales,” or “info.” Spammers build their lists based on these frequently used words + domain names (for example, [email protected] or [email protected])
- You have an email address based on your name, which happens to be a common one, such as John or Sara: [email protected], for example. Spammers target these addresses.
- Your email is mentioned on a website with known legit email addresses – collecting email addresses listed on harvesting websites is a standard method for building spamming lists. Spammers create those lists for themselves or sell email addresses. In both cases, the result is the same: you’ll receive an endless amount of junk email, with much of it being malicious.
- You’ve provided your personal data on suspicious websites or clicked on untrusted links.
- Even popular brands make mistakes – trying too hard to reach their sales goals, sometimes reputable companies accidentally send spam messages or get their database of customer information hacked.
What Are the Main Signs of Spam Emails?
When it comes to dealing with spam, there’s a golden rule – if it looks like spam, it probably is. You should try to delete these messages without clicking on them or any links in them. Why is that?
Well, a lot of spammers take advantage of clever ways to know if their message was received at a legit email and even looked at. They could use what’s called a tracking pixel, which is an image embedded into an email, but the image is so small, you’d never see it, and it’s probably white in color, just like the background of your email messages. When you load the images in a given email, that image being rendered can send a signal back to the Spammer’s home base and tell them yep, that email to ‘this’ address was read and it’s a valid address, so send more spam that way.
Take a look at the following red flag clues that could signal you when to avoid opening an email:
- Pay attention to “buzz words”: Spammers love to use “buzz words” such as “100% FREE “or “FREE Gift” or “Easy earnings”. Those words usually act as a hook to ensure the email receiver clicks on links, images, and buttons in the message.
- Spammers use weird URLs: Be careful with short links and strange URLs. Spammers hide their identity behind those links because they don’t want to leave any trace. A weird URL is usually easy to track: the destination URL doesn’t match the destination site.
- You’ve received an unclear, devious message: Spammers count on emails that contain overwhelming text and lots of images & buttons. These messages are ambiguous and sneaky and aim to mislead you into clicking the wrong buttons.
- The Email contains misspelled words. If you’ve received an email that contains misspelled words, automatically translated texts, or grammar mistakes, chances are high you’re dealing with a spam email. Spammers use this misspelled scam trick to bypass the spam screening filters and ensure their message makes it to your Inbox.
- The text is written in a foreign language: Spammers do their best to confuse and intrigue the email receiver. A foreign language scam is usually effective because it tempts the contact to access links for a translated version.
- The sender doesn’t seem to know you: The messages opening email contains text such as “dear customer” or “Hello Dear”. This is a huge red flag for a junk email.
- You don’t know the sender: If the email comes from a known company, you should check that the email signature in the suspicious email matches the one in the emails you normally get from that company, particularly if it’s for something related to signing into your account or resetting your password, or confirming a recent order. This is a common use case for phishing emails where they attempt to gain your credentials by tricking you.
- The offers are way too generous: Pay attention to cheap prices, impressive discounts, and free gifts offer. Are these for real? It’s likely to be another scam.
- You’re asked to provide some personal data: Under various pretenses, spammers may try to obtain some personal data, such as usernames, passwords, credit card data, etc… This is a form of phishing and you should be wary of these emails.
7 Ways to Stop Spam Emails From Reaching Your Inbox
When it comes to protecting yourself online, there’s all manner of ways to do this. Let’s talk about a few ways you can keep safe online, while at the same time lowering your exposure online.
1) A common way is protecting yourself from the links that are embedded in those spam emails:
- Don’t click on links in spam emails. Spammers use weird links as a hook to generate more spamming and they can often take you to portals where your computer will be loaded with malware or spyware.
- DO: type URLs manually into the browser and check out if the destination URL matches the destination site in the email you received.
2) Another great way to lower the amount of junk mail you get is to unsubscribe from legit mailings, like those sales ads you get from that company you bought that white elephant gift for at that one Holiday party, but you haven’t bought anything from them since. This keeps your email out of their system and if they get hacked or their active mailing lists are compromised, your email address won’t get caught up in the mix.
- Don’t unsubscribe to spam emails you never signed up for. It never works, By clicking on the unsubscribe link you risk receiving even more junk emails.
- DO: verify if the email source can be trusted (e.g., manually check in your browser the website address).
3) Received a suspicious email that looks to be from a friend, but they’re asking for money or something deeply personal? Think before you act on that email!
- Don’t reply to suspicious emails By responding to a spam email, you’ll confirm the address, and you’ll risk even more annoying and dangerous spam.
- DO: avoid opening suspicious emails and use smart software and filterings to keep spam away from your inbox.
4) When it comes to strange emails with attachments, you have to be doubly safe because attachments can seriously compromise your privacy and steal your confidential data.
- Don’t download any attachment until you’re sure that a trusted source provides it. Think twice before downloading an attachment from a strange email – this may harm your computer, send viruses to your contact list or hack your confidential data.
- DO: if you have any doubts about the attachment you’ve received, get in contact with the sender and ask them for confirmation.
5) Another part of staying safe online includes using secure, complex passwords that are unique to each website or service. Don’t use the same password over and over again. If you aren’t sure how to remember all those passwords, use a good password manager like Bitwarden (which is free!), or if you want something more feature-rich, 1Password is a great alternative. These apps let you generate random & complex passwords for each website, app, or service while securing your password vault with a master password that you remember, or your fingerprint.
- Don’t use weak passwords and don’t save your passwords in documents that could be hacked easily.
- DO: choose complex passwords, keep them in safe places, and change them frequently.
6) If you have your own website or a custom email signature, consider leaving your email address out of the signature. If you have to insert it, use the tip below for formatting your email address in such a way that it makes it harder for bots to scan your email and harvest the address.
- Don’t put contact emails in plain text. Spammers will easily use it in their favor.
- DO: use a format that is atypical for robots but understandable for humans: bob[at]domain[dot]com, or, even better, use images instead of text.
7) Carrying on with the theme of having your own website, don’t put an email address on your Contact or About page. This is just asking for a bot to harvest that address off your website and endlessly spam it with malicious, foul, otherworldly content. Instead, consider using a form protected by something like a CAPTCHA.
- Don’t use a standard email contact address on the contact page. Plain text, as we said before, is risky.
- DO: use contact forms and CAPTCHA tools to keep your email safe and clean.
Are There Any Technical Methods I Can Use to Stop Spam Emails From Reaching My Inbox?
Manual email filtering is an efficient way to manage the incoming emails of any given email account on your domain.
As a general rule of thumb, it is best to add multiple simple filtering rules, as opposed to one big complex rule. This will allow the Email server to process rules easier and more accurately.
How to Manually Configure Email Filters in cPanel
cPanel is a popular web hosting control panel that provides a powerful set of automation tools in an easy and straightforward web-based interface, allowing a simplified process for hosting websites or emails.
Without cPanel, you would need technical knowledge to manage your websites or emails. But with cPanel, you’re able to make changes using a graphical interface – no technical knowledge is required. (cPanel Demo)
If you are using cPanel to manage your email accounts, you can easily configure email filters by following the steps below:
First and foremost, you will have to log into your cPanel account.
You can configure Email filters by choosing between the following options:
- Global Email Filters (or account level filtering)
- Email Filters (or user-level filtering)
Global Email Filters in cPanel
This interface allows you to configure Email filters that will apply unilaterally to all email accounts (for example all email accounts created under one domain).
To create a global filter, first, click on Global Email Filters and then on Create a New Filter.
You will be redirected to the window below, where you can edit the actual filter by giving it a Name (1), selecting the Rules (2), choosing the Criteria (3), entering a string Value (4) and consequently telling the filter what Action to take (5).
After you’ve created the new filter rule, a confirmation message will appear on the screen.
Navigating back, you will see the Filter list where you can test the filters you just made. Simply click on Test Filter and follow your inbox.
That’s it! Now you have learned how to create a Global Filter in cPanel.
Email Filters in cPanel
Email filters allow you to add and manage filters for each email account. Setting up Email filters for individual email accounts is similar to the global Email filters.
First, start by clicking on Email Filters from the Email section of your cPanel dashboard. Secondly, go to Manage Filters for the desired email account.
- From: specifies the sender’s Email address.
- Subject: specifies the subject line from any incoming Email message.
- To: specifies the recipient’s Email address.
- Reply: specifies the Email address at which the sender receives replies.
- Body: specifies the entire content of the message.
- Any Header: specifies any part of the message header.
- Any Recipient: specifies any recipient of the message.
- Has Not Been Previously Delivered: the server will only analyze messages that have remained in the delivery cue.
- Is an Error Message: the server will only analyze error messages sent by auto-reply systems.
- List-ID: will contain the mailing lists of the account.
- Spam Status: whether the Apache Spam Assassin has marked the message as Spam. This option demands a string value of “YES” or “NO” in the value box.
- Spam Bar: this is similar to a risk indicator. The more plus (+) sings the Spam Assassin attributes to a message, the more likely it is that it will be marked as Spam.
- Spam Score: indicates the total number of (+) signs in the Spam Bar, expressed as a number.
Note: in order for the Spam Status, Spam Bar, and Spam Score to be available, you must make sure that the Apache Spam Assassin is enabled.
- Contains: specifies a user-defined string to search for
- Matches regex: matches a user-defined regular expression
- Does not contain: the message does not contain a user-defined string
- Equals: the message is exactly the same as the entered string
- Begins with: the message begins with the defined string
- Ends with: the message ends with the defined string
- Does not begin: the message does not begin with the defined string
- Does not end with: the message does not end with the defined string
- Does not match: the message does not match the defined string
- Is above (numbers only): message value is above a given integer
- Is not above (numbers only): message value is not above a given integer
- Is bellow (numbers only): message value is below a given integer
- Is not bellow (numbers only): message value is not bellowing a given integer
After the system matches the predefined rules and criteria, it must decide what to do with that specific email. This is where the following actions come into play.
- Discard Message: it will automatically discard (drop) the message without a failure notice.
- Redirect to Email: it will redirect (forward) the message to another user-defined Email account.
- Fail With Message: the system will automatically discard the message and return a specific failure notice to the sender.
- Stop Processing Rules: it will stop processing any further rules.
- Deliver to Folder: it will move the message to a specified folder.
- Pipe to a Program: it will send the message to a particular software or program.
In conclusion, the advantage of setting up Email filters directly from cPanel is that you can preset user-defined specifications remotely. This will consequently enable them to remain activated regardless of the location or device the user is accessing his or her’ Emails from.
Make sure you test them out and set up more complex rules combinations to see how they are processed.
How to use automated spam filters for your email accounts
The best technical choice is to use automated spam filters. By using an incoming email filtering system, all the spam messages will be blocked before they ever reach your network, so your inbox will be free from all unwanted emails. These types of spam filters usually operate with a ‘whitelisting’ system – so that only ‘not spam’ email addresses or messages are allowed to reach your inbox.
There are several providers on the market that are offering inbound filtering. It’s essential to pay attention to how friendly and easy to use is their filtering system, how efficiently the spam filters work.
For example, at ChemiCloud, we’ve partnered with Email Security experts, SpamExperts. Their expertise in the email security field is second to none.
With the incoming filtering service enabled, SpamExperts will proactively filter the emails you receive, keeping you away from spam and malware. Their filtering-system expertise is a direct result of processing emails flowing through over 2.5 million active domains daily.
How does the SpamExperts incoming filtering system work?
Once your domain is (automatically) deployed to the Incoming Filter, and filtering is activated, your email accounts created with that domain will pass through the cloud spam filtering. Incoming emails are securely analyzed and scanned in real-time.
No training or configurations are required, and everything works out of the box. Any message detected as spam is moved to the quarantine, while non-spam is sent to your email server. The quarantine can be monitored in the user-friendly panel, through email reports, or even directly in your email client.
The advantages of the automated email filtering we are offering to our clients (only):
- full Inbox protection at competitive prices;
- extremely accurate filtering;
- easy configuration;
- increase inbound email continuity & redundancy;
- various reporting options;
- friendly interface to keep you in full control over your email;
- increase employee productivity;
- compatible with any mail server.
This service is available for any website hosted on our hosting platform and can be enabled at any time from your Client Area. The great news is that we offer SpamExperts Incoming Filtering services to our clients at only $25.95/year per domain.
How Do I Enable SpamExperts?
If you are a ChemiCloud customer, you will first need to log into your Client Area.
Once you are logged inside’s your Client Area dashboard, scroll down to the Recommended Addons section, select the Email Security tab then click on the Order/Learn More button.
On the next page, you will need to scroll down to the bottom, choose the Incoming Filtering product and click on the Order Now button.
Next, you can choose the billing cycle and choose the domain name for which you’d like to enable SpamExperts Incoming Scanning & Filtering and place the order for it.
Get rid of spam & viruses from email now and take back control of your Inbox with SpamExperts Incoming Filtering!
▶️ Please join us in the next blog article where we will walk you through 10 Reasons Why Your Emails Go to Spam.