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If spam has increased in your Gmail account.. it's just a fact of life. The question is whether or not Gmail's spam filter is catching it.

Why am I receiving a major increase in the number of spam messages in my Gmail account? They've increased from about 1 a week to about 4 a day beginning in mid-December of 2012. Where should I begin to check to resolve this problem?

In this excerpt from Answercast #95 I look at a case where spam has increased in a Gmail account.

Spam has increased

Well, first of all, let me tell you that if you're only getting four a day, you should consider yourself very, very lucky. I get hundreds of spam messages a day, and Gmail does correctly and properly filter them to the spam folder.

If you're saying that the spam messages are making it to your inbox, that's an easy one for you to take control of.

Teach Gmail about spam

When you find a spam message in your inbox, mark it as spam. What you're doing by marking it as spam is you're helping Gmail (or any other email services) to learn what it is and is not spam.

It won't take effect immediately.

They're not going to magically be able to tell that everything that "looks like this" is spam. You may have to tell it a few times as you get more of these kinds of messages. But the more you get, the more you mark as spam, the better the Gmail spam filter will get and the fewer of them you'll actually find in your inbox. They'll get routed automatically to your spam folder where they'll get deleted after 30 days.

So, if it's just your inbox that you're complaining about, then absolutely just mark it as spam and things will get better over time.

Spam in your spam filter

If it's your spam folder that you're talking about... in other words, the fact that you're even getting spam there is something that concerns you - trust me, four is nothing. Four messages a day is nothing - especially if it's already being filtered into the spam folder.

That is a very low amount of spam and you should consider yourself very lucky. If it's getting automatically filtered into your spam folder, there's nothing more you need to do. Gmail has already identified it as spam and is taking the appropriate steps by putting it there.

(Transcript lightly edited for readability.)

Article C6324 - February 24, 2013 « »

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Leo Leo A. Notenboom has been playing with computers since he was required to take a programming class in 1976. An 18 year career as a programmer at Microsoft soon followed. After "retiring" in 2001, Leo started Ask Leo! in 2003 as a place for answers to common computer and technical questions. More about Leo.

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4 Comments
Alex Dow
February 26, 2013 12:03 PM

Be carefull to clearly distinguish between "unwanted" messages from genuine sites versus "true spam" from other sources.

An "unwanted" message would be from say an on-line shopping site, because you did not tick the appropriate box, to say that you did not want advertising etc.

If sufficient persons identified this as "spam" leading to that site being filtered out, others who may wish to see the adverts will be denied the chance.

Such sites are better dealt with by either unsubscribing; or adding to your own "Rejects" (under various names) list.

snert
February 26, 2013 1:06 PM

Unsolicited email is SPAM and I don't G.A.S. where it comes from. I'd like to think I'm smart enough to find what I want and where to look for it. The 'net is HUGE beyond comprehension and there's any and everthing you'd care to look for.
If I want Viagra pills I'll go looking for them and If I want on-line christian dating I'll look for that, and if I want to connect with like-minded Pagans I can do that, too, but I don't need their unsoliciited BS landing in my in-box.

Dan
February 26, 2013 1:34 PM

I agree with snert. If I didn't ask for the advert, it is spam and I am going to mark it as spam. Too bad if they get filtered out. There are too many sites out there that do look legit, but aren't so I am not going to take a chance by unsubscribing to let them know that I am in fact a good email address. In fact - a couple years ago I did unsubscribe from a legit site, the next day we started getting even more messages from other companies because of that. I know because of the way I used the uppercase and lowercase mix on my name. Even if the company itself might not sell the customer list, you never know about the employees.

Alex Dow
February 27, 2013 3:22 AM

You should never "REPLY" to the apparent source or "FORWARD" to supposed monitoring agencies.

That simply adds to the volume of unwanted traffic on the Web.

Simply DELETE.

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