Did you know that the mail server receives over half a million messages per day? Around 95% of these messages are identified by our spam filter and are discarded. No anti-spam mechanism is perfect, and occasionally unwanted email will slip by the filter and get delivered to you. If you receive an unwanted email, consider some of our suggestions.

Unsubscribe from the mailing list

Legitimate entities usually provide a way for you to be removed from their mailing lists, similar to the way legitimate telemarketers will place you on their “do not call” list when requested. Email that is more “junk mail” than spam, that is, mail from a legitimate entity that has reason to believe you might be interested in the content they’re sending, can often be stopped merely by making a request to that effect.

Say you purchased something from an online vendor and they keep sending you advertisements, or you’re getting solicitations from a company that sells products related to your field. Visit the Website of the entity and look for a way to get off their mailing lists. At the very least, find a “contact us” page and ask how to be removed.

Note that following an “unsubscribe” or “remove me” link in an email can be risky—spammers usually include one as a way of getting you to confirm that an address to which they sent spam (yours!) is a valid address. Once you do this, they can not only target you, but may also sell your address to other spammers. Unsubscribe/remove links should only be used if you’re absolutely certain that the email is legitimate and the address to which the request is sent belongs to a legitimate entity.

Mark the message as Gmail

Using the [Spam] button in Gmail can help prevent future spam messages from being delivered.

With the offending email open in Gmail, click [More] to see options for [Report Spam] and [Report Phishing]. Either option moves the message from the Inbox to the Spam folder and also teaches the spam filter not to deliver similar email in the future. Note that deleting a message or manually moving it to or from the Junk folder does not affect the spam filter.

If a message is accidentally marked as spam, navigate to the Spam label in Gmail, open the message, and click [Report not Spam] to return the message to your inbox.

Block the sender

If the unwanted mail you’re receiving always comes from the same address, block the sender’s address by clicking [More] and selecting [Block “name of sender”].

Use mail filters

If the sender’s address is not consistent but the content of the subject line is, you can try applying a Webmail Rule to filter these messages to your trash.

Report abuse to the provider

If unwanted email is coming from a recognizable Internet Service Provider or email provider (e.g., the sender’s address indicates the account is from AOL, RCN, Yahoo, Gmail, etc.), you can complain to them—most providers have a “report abuse” mechanism somewhere on their Website.

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