How to stop spam emails in Gmail

It’s 2023, and people are still asking “how do you stop spam emails on Gmail?”. This is probably not what you imagined the future would be like. And how do you stop spam emails on Gmail? Fortunately, solutions other than “becoming a Luddite” exist. Let us tell you how to stop spam emails on Gmail. Or, at the very least, drastically cut them down. 

How to stop spam emails in Gmail, in short:

  1. Report unwanted emails as spam to Google
  2. Create advanced email filters to automatically block spam.
  3. Remove your personal data from data brokers
  4. Stop using your email address everywhere 
  5. Unsubscribe from old newsletters

Report spam emails to Google

Google knows a thing or two about running an email service, so users already have the option of marking unwanted emails as spam.

Here’s how to mark multiple emails at once and report them all as spam without ever opening them you can do so on PC, Mac, Android, and iOS:

  1. Log into your Gmail account.
  2. Find unwanted emails in the Gmail inbox
  3. Select all unwanted emails
  4. Click on the “report spam” button, it’s the hexagonal icon with an exclamation mark in the middle.
    • If you’re doing this on an Android or iOS phone, click the three-dots icon on the top right and then tap “report spam.” 

If you only realized that an email was spam after opening it, here’s the procedure:

  1. Click on the “report spam” button.
    • For smartphones, tap the three-dot icon on the top right corner. 
  2. You might be asked whether you want to “report spam and unsubscribe” or just to “report spam.” Choose the first option if the spam email looks like a newsletter or something similar. 

Create advanced email filters to automatically block spam

Sometimes, you need to go the extra mile and manually filter the messages you want from all those unwanted emails. Here’s how you can customize your spam filter: 

  1. Navigate to the Gmail webmail interface on a PC or Mac and click the gear icon at the top right of the Gmail window. 
  2. Choose “see all settings.” 
  3. Go to “filters and blocked addresses” and click “create new filter.
  4. Enter the filter parameters:
    • From: the sender’s email address (here’s where you can enter the addresses of known spam accounts).
    • To: recipients’ email addresses, there’s no need to add yours, unless you use different aliases.
    • Subject: words in the subject line that are unique to spam messages.
    • Has the words: sets the filter to pick up these words anywhere in the email.
    • Doesn’t have the words: checks the email for absence of certain words.
    • Size: how much disk space the email takes up.
    • Has attachment: a simple toggle to check if the email comes with an attachment.
  5. Click on “create filter.” 
  6. Choose “delete it” to immediately send messages matching your filter to the trash. 

By playing with (d) and (e), you can tailor the filter to, say, delete emails from a specific address that don’t contain your name.

Remove your personal data from data brokers

There are many ways for your Gmail address to fall into the wrong hands. Some of them are completely legal, like your internet service provider (ISP) selling your email and browsing data to marketers. Plus, data brokers have based their entire business model on gathering and selling data about you. 

Fortunately, many states have laws in place that oblige companies that hold and trade in your data to remove it when asked. 

  1. You can email each data broker individually in the hope that they’ll comply with your requests. It’d take an estimated 300+ hours to do this for every data broker that might be dealing in your personal information.
  2. You can use a service like Incogni and someone else do this on your behalf. This isn’t free, but neither is the time you’d otherwise spend jumping through data brokers’ hoops and arguing points of law over email. 

Stop using your email address everywhere 

Anytime you enter your email address in a form online, there’s a chance that whoever set up the form will use that address to send you spam, or sell the address to someone else. 

That’s why, in order to stop spam messages from flooding your Gmail inbox, you should:

  1. Use a secondary email address/inbox when you need to register for something that you’ll use infrequently or that’s likely to send you spam mail. 
  2. Use a temporary email provider for the times when you just need to enter an email address to bypass a website asking you to register.
    • Note: only use these for websites you don’t intend to interact with again as temporary inboxes only last minutes, so you won’t be able to use the same inbox the next time.

Unsubscribe from old newsletters

A lot of the junk mail you see in your inbox isn’t spam but newsletters you signed up for in one way or another. Deal with them accordingly:

  1. Open the email
  2. Scroll to the bottom to find an Unsubscribe link.
  3. Use it to unsubscribe for the newsletter (what you need to do varies from website to website). 

Note 1: Unsubscribing shouldn’t require you to provide any information. If a website asks you for something like that, just mark the email as spam. 

Note 2: If the subject of the email is something like CLICK HERE TO UNSUBSCRIBE, then it’s definitely a scam and you shouldn’t even open it. Just mark it as spam

In conclusion: fight spam effectively

There is no way to get rid of spam permanently – after all, the tools and tactics spammers use are evolving all the time. However, there are quite a few internet hygiene tips you can follow to stop the flood of email spam from flooding your inbox. The hardest part is getting your data off spam mailing lists, so why not have Incogni do it for you?

More guides on how to stop spam:


Is there a way to permanently stop spam emails?

No, spammers are always looking for ways to defeat the measures you take. However, by following our guide, you can drastically cut back the amount of spam mail you see in your inbox. 

Is it better to block or delete spam?

It’s better to block and then delete spam as this lets Gmail know to block such spam the next time it gets delivered to your inbox. 

Does Gmail have a spam blocker?

Yes, it does. Spam emails get delivered to the Spam folder in Gmail. That’s where you can delete spam, check if any actual emails got mistakenly blocked, and so on. 

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