How to Block Emails: A Comprehensive Guide
No one likes getting unwanted emails. Spam emails can carry threats like malware and getting messages from unknown senders is just annoying!
You’re not alone. According to Statista, spam messages accounted for 53.95% of email traffic generated in March 2020. In 2018, 281.8 billion emails were sent on a daily basis, including billions of marketing emails.
Pro tip: These days, spam messages are as common as changes in the weather. It's pretty difficult to stop spam once an email is compromised. With Clario, we help you to acquire the essential digital security habits via the Safe Browsing feature. See how this and other Clario tools can secure your online life with our free trial.
Promotional messages may seem harmless at first but too many may flood your inbox, especially if you often receive them. Malicious email may contain hazardous links or software too. Once opened, it can activate and infiltrate your device.
To prevent this from ever happening, we’ll teach you how you can block unwanted emails in your computer or from your email provider.
Why am I getting unwanted emails?
Why does anyone get spammed? Good question. Here are the most common reasons why:
- You accidentally subscribed to a company’s newsletter.
Remember when you visited a company’s new website or tested an app? And you breezed through the Terms & Conditions? Then you clicked some more boxes until you could access the website or mobile service. Well, you might have clicked “agreed” to get regular emails from them.
- You have posted your email on a public forum or website.
Anyone or anything (read: bots) trying to scour the internet for email addresses can pick up what you write and include it in a list of emails used for message blasts.
- A company with details of your email was a victim of data breach.
You may be using an app or you may have an account with a particular website. If ever those companies had a data breach, your email address is up for grabs to anyone who may need a list of emails. Worse, they may even have other personal information about you! (This is why it’s a good idea to get a cybersecurity software capable of alerting you if any of your email accounts are ever involved in a data breach.)
- You have clicked on a malicious email before.
Sometimes, clicking on an email from an unknown sender can alert them that your email is active, making you more attractive for phishing scams.
What are unwanted emails?
Before we try to remove them from our inbox, let’s learn more about the most common types of unwanted emails:
- Spam emails: Also known as junk mail, most spam emails are sent in bulk to a list of subscribers, usually for promotional purposes.
- Forced or accidental subscriptions: When using a new app or website, the service may use certain tactics to confuse you into agreeing to receive messages from them.
- Phishing emails: These malicious messages pretend to be marketing emails but contain software capable of installing themselves on your device stealthily. The malicious software can then spy on your activities and even gather personal information about you. This can later be used for crimes such as identity theft.
- Emails with no sender: Known to iOs users as ghost emails, these “no sender” and “no subject” emails may actually be a result of a system glitch.
- Unwanted personal communication: These are messages sent to you by someone you personally know, of which you have no intention of replying to. Maybe it’s an acquaintance asking for a loan or a past lover still trying to reach out. Either way, they’re cluttering up your inbox.
How do I stop spam emails permanently?
Will spam emails eventually stop? Sadly, if your email address has been compromised in a data breach, as long as someone out there has the list with your email on it, they can always spam you. That is until you have an overall cybersecurity software capable of removing your email address from such databases, like Clario!
However, there are other ways to simply remove unwanted emails from your inbox: For marketing messages, it is recommended you unsubscribe to the email. Legitimate promotional emails have an unsubscribe link at the bottom of their emailers. If you’re using Gmail, you can also find an Unsubscribe link beside the sender’s message.
For non-marketing emails, the bad news is they may not even have this link. These non-marketing emails with spammy-looking titles and email addresses can even contain malware or ransomware. You may be endangering your device by simply opening them.
This is why you always have to be careful before opening any unwanted email. Err on the side of caution and simply delete them or mark them as spam.
Unsubscribe vs. filter unwanted emails
So how do you know if it’s a legitimate marketing emailer or a spammy, dangerous email? There are tell-tale signs to spot phishing emails, including an unclear or unprofessional-looking subject line. Headlines conveying a sense of urgency and danger in exchange for money (“You are in danger! Give money now!”) also scream “scam!”
IT experts recommend you simply delete these emails or mark them as spam, even if they contain an Unsubscribe button. This is because when you click on Unsubscribe, you are letting them know someone is actively using this email account. It means you might encourage whoever has your email to send you more junk messages.
On the other hand, legit promotional messages use the official email of a company. For example, instead of BankABC@gmail.com, they may use Updates@BankABC.com.
Can you block emails?
Yes, you can block emails from unwanted senders and subscription lists. The process is a bit different for each email provider and device but we’ll give you the step-by-step guide on how to do this:
How to block emails on Gmail
- Step 1: Open the message sent by the unwanted party
- Step 2: In the top right corner, click the More option or the three vertical lines
- Step 3: Click Block [sender]
- Step 4: Click on the Report as spam option if you want to report the message
If you are an Android phone user, since your default email app is Gmail, you can also follow the steps mentioned above to block someone from your phone.
Now, in case you want to unblock the sender, simply follow the same steps. Then, instead of clicking Block, click the Unblock button instead.
How to block emails on Outlook and Hotmail
- Step 1: Choose a message from the unwanted sender you want to block
- Step 2: From the Outlook menu bar select Message > Junk Mail
- Step 3: Click on Block Sender. Outlook can then add this sender's email address to the blocked list and filter out any future messages from them
If you want to undo this action, just go to Tools > Junk Email Preferences. Go to the Blocked Senders tab, click on the specific email address then choose Remove Selected Sender.
How to block emails on Yahoo!
- Step 1: In Yahoo Mail, click on the gear icon and select Settings > Blocked Addresses
- Step 2: In the Add an address field, select Block
- Step 3: Type the email address you want to block, then click Block
You may also contact Yahoo’s Customer Care if a person or an organization continues to send you unsolicited emails.
How to block emails on iPhone and iPad
With iOS13 and iPadOS, you can block unwanted emails under Contacts or using the Mail app.
Blocking unwanted emails using iPhone Contacts
- Step 1: Make sure the email address of the person you want to block is in the Contacts app. If it's not there, you should make an entry for this sender
- Step 2: Open your Settings app > Mail > Threading options. Tap Blocked Sender Options
- Step 3: Click on Blocked, then choose Add New
- Step 4: Tap on the contact you created for the unwanted email sender
- Step 5: Enable mail in iCloud so it syncs this preference across all your Apple devices.
Blocking unwanted emails using the Mail app
- Step 1: Open an email from the unwanted contact
- Step 2: Click on the name of the sender
- Step 3: Tap From in the header and choose Block This Contact
You may unblock senders by going to Settings > Mail > Blocked. Find the name of the blocked sender and simply hit Unblock.
How do I permanently block someone from emailing me?
If you have followed the steps above, you should have no problem with specific senders anymore.
Does a blocked sender know they are blocked?
No, they won’t know if you have blocked them. They won’t receive a notification you have filtered their messages from your inbox. Their emails simply go straight to spam if they try to send you anything.
Although there is no possible way for them to know if you have blocked them, they may suspect this, especially if you’re not replying to their messages.
Why am I still getting emails from blocked senders?
Let’s say someone did find out you have blocked their email. They may create another one so they can continue sending you messages. Be sure to check the actual email address, not just the name of the person sending the email. You can always block this new email address, but if they continue sending messages, you can also tell them that you don’t want to be receiving emails from them anymore.
For business emails or spam messages you suspect to be phishing, you can also report them to the email provider directly. For example, Google has specific pages where you can report: Harassment From a Gmail User, Spam, Impersonation, Phishing Messages, and Non-Phishing Suspicious Messages.
How to avoid getting unwanted emails
Here are some handy tips to prevent getting unwanted emails in the first place…
- Read the fine print of apps and websites’ Terms and Conditions.
Maybe you’re checking on the auto-subscribe option of these tricky text boxes.
- Only subscribe to trusted companies or websites.
If you do willingly want to get newsletters and other promotional messages, make sure these are from trustworthy brands. Reputable companies do not spam their subscribers and are less likely to be involved in a data breach.
- Don’t engage with spammers.
Maybe you will be tempted to reply to these spammers to stop sending you messages. It would be better not to agitate them.
- Use a disposable email.
Another technique tech-savvy individuals do is use another email address when they sign up to new websites. This is called a disposable email and unconnected to your personal accounts. When its security is compromised, you can simply abandon this email address and it doesn’t pose a risk to your other online accounts.
- Don’t reveal your private email address on public domain websites or social media groups.
Bots, spammers, and scanners, are always on the lookout for email addresses readily available online. If you still want to post your email address on social media, you may want to limit who can see it to select contacts.
- Get a cybersecurity software able to proactively send you alerts and protect all aspects of your digital life.
Unwanted emails may be annoying but they can also pose risks to your digital security. Better be safe than sorry and get a cybersecurity app like Clario. We can give you peace of mind 24/7!