SPAM Filtering

Spam and suspicious emails

Spam is usually considered to be electronic junk mail or junk newsgroup postings. Some people define spam even more generally as any unsolicited email. Gmail automatically helps identify spam and suspicious emails by detecting viruses, finding patterns across messages, and learning from what Gmail users like you commonly mark as spam or phishing. If you click your Spam label and open one of the messages, you’ll see a warning label at the top with a brief explanation about why that particular message was placed in Spam.

Warning label example

Spam Blurb

Checking your SPAM folder

  • In the left navigation column of Gmail, scroll to the bottom.
  • Click on More, and then scroll down further.
  • Click on SPAM
    • Be careful about what you click on or open in the SPAM folder
    • Hover over a message to see the sender’s email address.
    • 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 shouldn’t be there:
    • Select the check box in front of the item, and click on Not SPAM at the top.
    • 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. For more information, visit Setting up filters in Gmail.
  • Please call the ITS Service Desk if you unsure of what you see or if you have any question

Differentiating Group Mail from SPAM

Be careful when marking items as SPAM.  For example, if too many mark a newsletter as SPAM, Google will consider it to be SPAM for everyone at, and it won’t be delivered to the people who really want it.

Most legitimate newsletters offer an unsubscribe option. For official campus mailings that you no longer want to receive, check the bottom of the email for unsubscribe instructions.  For other unwanted email you can report as SPAM by clicking the SPAM report button at the top of your inbox.

Report as Spam
Another method to block unwanted email is to use the Filter option. Click the down arrow on the More button and you will be presented with filter criteria to customize. Be careful when creating a filter so that legitimate messages are not deleted.

Remember, check your SPAM folder regularly; it is typically found below your Drafts or Sent Mail folder.


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