How to Cut Spam by 80%
Spam texts, spam calls, spam emails! Your inboxes are probably full of them with Black Friday around the corner. We’ve gathered the most effective tips and tricks to help you find some relief. *Spoiler* a data removal service called Incogni can help.
Did you know that Americans are receiving roughly 8 billion spam emails a day in 2023? It’s an endless nightmare, but it’s not incurable. There are actually several steps you can take today to cut the amount of spam you receive by almost 80%!
Step 1: Remove your personal information from data brokers and people search sites
Companies called data brokers and people search sites scrape the web for any crumb of personal information, which they then sell to perfect strangers, marketers, and occasionally to a scammer or two directly. This contributes to a huge portion of the spam you get.
It’s almost impossible to stop these companies from getting their hands on your data. Do a quick Google search of your phone number right now and see how many data brokers pop up with your personal details on sale.
If you’re alarmed by what you see, there are services out there that specialize in cleaning that up. Incogni is an automated personal information removal service that keeps personal data like phone numbers and emails off the market (and spammers’ contact lists). You can use code BF2023 to get 55% off a 1-year subscription as part of a special Black Friday deal.
Alternatively, you track down which data brokers and people search sites have your data with a little bit of Google sleuthing. Then visit each website, find their opt-out page, and send out data removal requests one by one. This may take a lot of time and will require upkeep since data brokers add new information almost as fast as you can take it down. But it’ll drastically cut the amount of spam you get.
Step 2: Don’t feed the troll
Not so much a step as a hard rule. Never reply to or engage with spam in any way. Whether you reply to a text, click an unsubscribe link in an email, or simply answer a call from a spammer, you’ll only make the problem worse.
Not only can this lead to dangers like exposing yourself to scam attempts or downloading malicious software, but it’ll also signal that your phone number or email is active. It’ll have more spam heading your way before you can say “unsubscribe”.
Step 3: Secure your email
The details of this can vary, based on which email you use. Generally, this means turning on your junk filter (if it isn’t already), blocking pictures in HTML messages, and taking a deep dive into your email settings to ensure you take advantage of every privacy feature available.
Pretty much every email provider gives you the option to block senders. It may be a pain to keep doing this, but over time, it will decrease the number of spam emails that slip into your inbox.
Step 4: Secure your phone
To put a stop to spam texts and spam calls, you’ll have to visit the settings on your cell phone.
If you have an iPhone, you can turn on the “Silence unknown callers” feature through the settings app. This will send anyone who isn’t already saved as a contact straight to voicemail. If that seems a bit extreme, you can use the “Silence junk callers” feature instead, which does the same thing but only with calls that are suspected to be spam. It isn’t a built-in feature though, so it’ll only be available if your mobile carrier supports it.
If you have an Android phone, you can also block unknown callers through the phone app settings. Both Androids and iPhones give you the option to block specific numbers as well. So if you keep getting calls from one persistent telemarketer, you can put an end to that.
For more robust spam filtering on your phone, consider downloading a spam filtering app that blocks calls and texts using vast databases of known spam numbers.
Keep your personal information private with Incogni
Incogni is a personal information removal service developed by Surfshark. They send out wave after wave of removal requests to data brokers and people search sites on your behalf, ensuring your data stays private and out of circulation on the web. Learn more about their mission here.