If you have an email account, it’s likely that you receive spam emails.

Spam is non-malicious but unwanted emails, for instance sale offers from retailers, unsolicited mail shots from companies wanting to promote events, third party newsletters etc. This is different from a ‘phishing’ email, which has a malicious intent – for instance, trying to get information from you, or encouraging you to open an attachment or click on a link that could cause damage.

Though this bulk spam mail may be a nuisance, there are options to deal with it.

Ways to deal with spam

Unsubscribe (stopping at the source) – legitimate companies that send out marketing or bulk emails should have an option to ‘unsubscribe’ from their mailing list. This will allow you to prevent those emails from being sent to you. Always check the ‘unsubscribe’ link by hovering over it to make sure it takes you to an expected domain/website. Though rare, this has been used to scam people.

Firewalls (stopping at the gateway) – your work email account may use an email filter or ‘firewall’ to prevent harmful mail from getting into your inbox. It ‘scores’ email by scanning its attributes such as where it was sent from, the language used, the IP address, reputation and other factors in order to judge if the mail should be delivered to your mailbox, discarded or put into what is called ‘quarantine’.

Quarantined email has been judged as non-dangerous, but possibly unwanted/spam email. This allows you, the recipient, to either ‘release’ it from quarantine, to ‘block’ the sender, or to just ignore the email which will be left in quarantine and eventually ‘expire’ and be deleted.

You may be sent a message from your email provider listing any emails that have been quarantined, so you can decide what happens to them.

Junk/low priority (removing it once it’s already arrived) - the junk filter on many email accounts doesn’t stop delivery of junk email messages but it does the next best thing—it moves suspected spam to the junk email folder. You may see this folder within your email account.

You can also usually move mail to your ‘junk’ mail folder, too; this will ensure that email that arrives from that particular sender will always be marked and filed as ‘junk’.

It's a good idea to regularly review messages in the junk folder to check for legitimate messages that were incorrectly classified as junk. If you find a message that isn’t junk, drag it back into the inbox or any folder.