Tuesday, 8 March 2022

Spam? We receive hundreds every day, what can we do?

Despite all the world’s problems and in particular today’s war in the Ukraine, problems with computers and the world wide web continue unabated as well. In particular with the spam problem. According to the sages billions of these are sent everyday. I use Gmail like most other people along with a few others such as Yahoo. But Gmail in particular seems to be the mail provider that attracts most if not all of the spammer world. Even worse most of these spam emails are of a sexual nature. Like do I want an extension to a certain part of my body? Even thinking about that sends shivers along my spine. Or do I want to look at a lady called Anna from Russia who likes cavorting naked on a bare settee. No, I am married and my settee is not bare but has a nice woolly soft covering! So, I have been looking at the problem which is huge. I applaud Google in one way, they filter out most if not all spam messages and put it in the Spam folder but I don’t want to receive them at all. Even though I know Google will delete them after 30 days I rather do not have them anywhere. Anyone can set up filters but that is useless as these messages are already in the Spam folder. Now it is true that some messages are not spam but are filtered by Google as spam because they have what is known as ‘trigger words’. Or the email is missing a sender’s address or there could be something else like using a strange address or name.

So, good email marked as spam will or might not be, read by the recipient. That’s a problem you might have to live with. However, what to do about spam. Well, GMail has a way I found after a long search through mostly useless information. If you want to see it in the flesh so to say, search for the website of Techcult as follows - https://techcult.com/automatically-delete-spam-emails-in-gmail/ - this way will GMail warn you that it is not really the way to do it because they will delete them after 30 days anyway but that’s not my point which is I don’t want them, not even in my spam box. Well, so far it seems to work but I will wait a week or so and report back.If you use Thunderbird then you cannot do it from there, just log into GMail, put in your data as per the usual, email address, password and 2FA phone code and start from there.

Edit 12/3/22

Well, it works, the spam folder is almost empty. But it seems that 'deleted' means they all now are to found in the 'deleted' folder! You might think 'what is the difference?' On the face of it, no difference as you still have to empty the 'deleted' folder manually. So, I have to discover now how to make them disappear automatically. The only problem I can see is that when messages are in the 'deleted' folder Google does not delete them after 30 days. But there is less change of opening them accidentally and therefore no hidden pixels will warn the spammers your and mine address(es) is alive and well!

To go a bit further - you will receive messages, spam included. It cannot be stopped. But the above method will delete spam from the Trash or Spam folder and put them into the 'Deleted' folder. Pending your mail provider deleted messages could be automatically deleted after a certain number of days. I use Thunderbird and have set in the account settings of the email provider (GMail or other) that messages in the 'Deleted' folder will be deleted on exit of Thunderbird. That's the best that can be done I think. So have a go! To do this right click on your account name (usually top entry) and select Settings (bottom line). Under your email provider account name right click Server Settings. Then under Messages click Delete on Exit. Job done. 

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