How To Stop Adult Email Spam

by on October 17, 2007

Q: I keep getting emails wanting me to go to adult sites. These emails are from individual people and I can’t find out how to block them.

A: Generally speaking, you have three options when individuals continue to send unwanted emails to your inbox. The first of these is called filtering. Most webmail sites and email programs offer free spam filtering. The terms junk mail and spam are interchangeable. Webmail sites such as Gmail, Windows Live Mail (Hotmail) and Yahoo Mail use a combination of checkboxes next to messages and drop-down menus to allow you to move messages from your inbox to a spam folder. Let’s pretend that John is sending unwanted messages to your inbox. Move one of John’s messages from your inbox to your spam folder. Usually, this action tells your webmail to automatically send all of John’s future emails to your spam folder.

Email programs such as Apple Mail, Microsoft Outlook, and Mozilla Thunderbird offer built-in spam filtering too. These programs are each a bit different in the ways they handle spam. Usually right clicking on top of an offending message with your mouse is a good place to begin looking for anti-spam options in these programs. Consult your site’s/program’s help documentation for further information. Let’s use John as an example one more time.

You may be able to report John’s behavior to his email provider. You can determine John’s email provider by looking immediately after the @ symbol. For instance, if John’s email address is john@gmail.com, his email provider is Gmail. The quickest way to report John’s behavior would be to type “gmail report abuse” into a search engine such as Google. Then select the appropriate link from there (probably one of the first few results). If John uses a Yahoo email address, you would search for “yahoo report abuse”, and so on.

Finally, if you are using a major webmail site or email program, it should also be possible to prevent pictures from loading automatically when you click into an email. This is helpful when you don’t want to be subjected to offensive images, such as pornography. Again, consult your help documentation to learn how to achieve this in your site/program.