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Wake Forest University


Modified on: Thu, Sep 19, 2019 10:54 AM

What is spam

Spam is the unsolicited, usually commercial, messages (such as emails, text messages, or internet postings) sent to a large number of recipients.

  • Chain letters
  • Get rich quick schemes
  • Health products
  • Offers for pornographic websites
  • Pyramid schemes
  • Stock offerings

Checking your Spam folder

  • Locate your Spam folder:
    1. In Gmail, in the left navigation column, scroll to the bottom.
    2. Click on More, and scroll down until you see the Spam folder.
    3. Click on Spam
  • View your Spam folder but be careful about what you click on or open in the Spam folder. By clicking on something in your Spam folder, you may be introducing risk. Google places suspicious emails in your Spam folder based on analytics, etc.
    1. Hover over a message to see the sender’s email address.
    2. If it looks the least bit suspicious (e.g., the sender name doesn’t appear related to the actual email address), do not open it and don’t move it to your Inbox. Leave it in your Spam folder.
  • If you see items in the Spam folder that you want to receive in your Inbox:
    1. Select the check box in front of the item, and click on ‘Not spam’ at the top in the email toolbar.
    2. If you see a specific pattern of email being caught as Spam (e.g., from a mailing list or a particular person), you can set up a Gmail filter to indicate that those emails are “never spam” and should be kept in your Inbox or placed directly into a specified folder. See Using filters for more information.

Filtering spam out of your email

  • Google provides ways to mark or unmark Spam in Gmail.
  • Move it to your spam folder. Google’s spam filters will then “learn” to send future mail from that address to your Spam folder.

Some unwanted email is NOT spam

If it is a legitimate mailing that you’ve been subscribed to, then don’t mark it as spam. Instead, try one of the following:
  • If there is an “Unsubscribe” link, follow it for instructions.
    • Note that a phishing email might contain an unsubscribe link which, when clicked on, could lead to further problems.
  • If there is no “Unsubscribe” link, then you have various options to create a filter to keep mail from that address out of your Inbox. See Using filters for more information.

Where spammers get your email address

  • Some free email accounts
  • Some free web hosting companies
  • “Get paid to surf” programs
  • Open lists
  • Shareware
  • Web pages that contain your address

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