Until today, most of the spam that I get in my inbox have poorly written titles that have obvious sleazy sounding names and suspicious attachments. It should takes a split second for an experienced user to determine if an email is legitimate or not.
Until this happened…
What you are seeing above is a fraction of spam mail I received. My entire first page is filled with nothing but this!!! It’s a no-brainer this is spam. It’s in Chinese and this spamming campaign cluster bombed my email with approximately 10,000 junk messages in over 10 hours. After doing the math, 4 emails were sent every 15 seconds (obviously with a bot). That’s 16 spam messages a minute. 960 spam messages an hour and 9600 spam messages for 10 hours. I had some serious cleanup to do and this was no walk in the park because the sender’s email for each junk mail was different. This won’t make filtering easy.
How did I delete them all?
Look for something they all had. Luckily I identified a unique tag within the titles. The tag was: (AD)
So all I had to do was type (AD) in my gmail search bar!!!
The query came back with several thousands of spam messages and all I had to do was select all and erase it in bulk. I could only do this a hundred at a time (my total limit was a hundred emails per page).
Yes! About 9,380 junk messages left to delete! Easy to do but a nuisance.
Looking on the bright side: It took approximately 10 minutes for me to erase all the junk mail. Ten minutes is actually not bad compared to a 10 hour spamming campaign against me and my beloved email 10 year old gmail account. I will admit the whole process was boring but thanks to Gmail’s search feature, it made life easy.
So how do I stop spam from appearing in my inbox again?
These guys won’t make the same mistake again and prevention is always the best medicine for any problem so this is what I did.
- First, I googled my email address and found out that my email address was openly displayed on some sites and forums. That’s an easy scrape target. Although the spammers already have my email address, taking it out your email from the web will assure no new spammers get a hold of it.
- Second, I double checked my contact pages to make sure they had some kind of anti-spamming feature i.e. CAPTCHA. Remember captcha is not perfect but it still helps and adds a barrier.
- Third, I rechecked my spam filters in gmail.
- Fourth, I’m taking a proactive approach instead of ignoring the junk mail. This means, reporting spam as soon as I see it.
Easiest way to prevent spam from coming back is to report it.
To do this start by immediately reporting the unsolicited mail the minute you see it with the report spam button.
The report spam button appears at the top of the email for PCs .
For smartphones (this can vary); click on Menu>More>Report Spam.
Second, you can easily filter unsolicited mail using gmails “Filter messages like these” feature.
First login to Gmail then select the messages that are spam. Underneath the search bar, there is a ‘More’ button. Select it and a dropdown of options will appear. Click on “Filter messages like these”.
A window will pop-up and you will need to enter the details of what you want to filter out (e.g. keywords, email addresses, and etc. )
Click on create filters with this search. As seen in the screenshot,click “Delete it” box and click on create filter. You’re done!
Mail coming from this filter you made will be filtered out of your inbox and end up in the trash.
How do they SPAM like this?
This is easily done with spam software. For a few hundred bucks you can get one for yourself. The spam software contains the ability to scrape emails from websites and other sources then send hundreds or thousands of emails all at the same time. This seems vast and complicated but all you really need is a computer with some decent processing power, an internet connection, and the software. All you have to do is adjust settings and time to, maybe write some content, and press the start button. It’s that simple. But is it worth it? Hell no. If you want to make money, there are so many better ways to make it without becoming a nuisance to people.
Remember, the software isn’t the only thing they need…. to cover tracks, they use multiple fake IPs (from free or purchased VPNs) that can cost quite a lot if you add them all together.
I have to admit though, it’s my fault too…
From over ten years of using Gmail, gmail is the best free email in identifying and blocking junk mail without the user trying. Gmail learns your priorities and habits so it can identify what is important and what is junk. As great as it sounds it is not perfect so we have to be a bit careful.
In my case, I adjusted the filter settings many years ago so that any email that contained the @ mark would go into my inbox. I did this because at the time I had a few times when an important client’s email ended up in the spam box. Not only did I lose business, they thought I was ignoring them. (They should have called me for not responding… but I also should have checked my spam box). Again, this was many years ago so I forgot about it and left it this way until I got this massive spam attack in gmail.
As always, if you have a better way of stopping spam, I’m always ears for new suggestions so please feel free to comment below.