Is It Better To Block Or Delete Spam? (Clutter-Free Inbox)

Are you tired of receiving spam emails and wondering what to do with them? Do you struggle to manage your inbox clutter effectively? If you’re feeling overwhelmed and want to learn the most effective way to deal with spam emails, then you’re in the right place. So, is it better to block or delete spam?

Both blocking and deleting spam emails have their advantages and disadvantages. Generally, blocking is the more effective option if you consistently receive emails from the same spammer, while deleting can be useful if you receive occasional spam emails from different senders.

Have you ever wondered what happens to those unwanted spam emails that clutter up your inbox? Well, wonder no more! Let’s dive into the difference between blocking and deleting spam emails and learn which approach is right for you.

Girl with smartphone holding up her hand now knowing: is it better to block or delete spam

Understanding the Difference Between Blocking and Deleting Spam Emails

Blocking and deleting are two different ways of dealing with unwanted emails. While they may seem similar, there are important differences that you should be aware of to protect your inbox.

Deleting an email simply removes it from your inbox and sends it to your trash folder. It doesn’t prevent the sender from sending you more emails in the future. On the other hand, blocking an email address prevents any future emails from that address from reaching your inbox.

Blocking is a more effective way to deal with spam emails because it not only removes the current email, but also prevents future emails from the same sender. If you continue to receive spam emails from the same address, you may need to take additional steps to stop them, such as reporting the sender as spam to your email provider.

It’s important to note that blocking an email address may not always be the best option. In some cases, you may want to continue receiving emails from the sender, but not the spam messages. In these situations, it’s best to create filters to automatically sort spam emails into your spam folder, so they don’t clutter up your inbox.

Email providers from AOL Mail and Apple Mail down to Yahoo Mail and Zoho all offer spam filter settings to help block emails.  Make use of them.

Note: It’s important to remember never to click on any links or attachments in spam emails. While it may be tempting to use “unsubscribe” links, doing so will only let the spammer know that you’re a valid target.

Before deciding whether to block or delete spam emails, it’s essential to understand the advantages and disadvantages of each method, so you can make an informed decision to better protect your inbox.

Close up of monitor with spam folder with count of 529 blocking spam instead of deleting.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Blocking Spam Emails

A spam message is any unsolicited email that may promote fake products or services and poses a risk to personal data. As I mentioned above, most services and mail software have in-built spam filtering capabilities that allow users to block unwanted emails. However, there are advantages and disadvantages to this approach.

Advantages of Blocking Spam

  1. Reduced Clutter: One of the primary benefits of blocking spam emails is that it reduces the clutter in your inbox. You can focus on important emails and avoid wasting time sorting through irrelevant messages.
  2. Protection Against Phishing Scams: Spam emails are often used to distribute phishing scams, which aim to trick users into sharing sensitive information like login credentials or credit card numbers. By blocking junk email, you can reduce the risk of falling victim to such scams.
  3. Improved Security: Many spam emails contain malware or viruses that can infect your device or network. By blocking spam emails, you can reduce the risk of such attacks and keep your devices and data secure.

Disadvantages of Blocking Spam

  1. Missed Emails: One of the main disadvantages of blocking spam emails is that you may miss important emails that end up being flagged as spam. Remember you’ll need to periodically check your spam folder for legitimate emails that were mistakenly filtered.
  2. False Positives: Spam filters are not perfect and may sometimes flag legitimate emails as spam. This can be frustrating, especially if you are expecting an crucial email that never arrives.
  3. Difficulty in Adjusting Filters: Configuring spam filters can be a challenge, especially for users who are not tech-savvy. It may take some time to adjust the settings to your liking and find the right balance between blocking spam and avoiding false positives.

While blocking spam emails can help reduce clutter and protect against security risks, there are also advantages and disadvantages to deleting spam emails, which we will explore in the next section.

Concept art of a metal trash can and drawn spam email envelopes entering it indicating it's better to delete spam instead of blocking.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Deleting Spam Emails

Deleting spam emails is a common practice for many people. Spam emails are unsolicited messages that are sent to numerous recipients without their permission. They often contain advertisements, scams, or other unwanted content that can be annoying or harmful to users.

Advantages of Deleting Spam Emails

  1. Reduced Clutter: By deleting junk email, users can reduce the clutter in their inbox and focus on the emails that matter. This can help them stay organized and save time.
  2. Increased Security: Spam emails can be a source of phishing attacks or malware. By deleting spam emails, users can reduce the risk of falling victim to these threats.
  3. Improved Storage: Email services typically have limited storage space, and spam emails can take up valuable your storage quota.

Disadvantages of Deleting Spam Emails

  1. Potential False Positives: Sometimes, legitimate emails can be misidentified as spam and deleted. This can cause users to miss important messages, such as work-related emails or personal correspondence.
  2. Risk of Losing Important Information: In some cases, spam emails may contain critical information that users need to access later. By deleting spam emails, users may accidentally lose this information.
  3. Inability to Report Spam: By deleting spam emails, users may miss the opportunity to report the sender to the email service provider. Reporting spam can help improve the accuracy of spam filters and reduce the amount of spam that users receive in the future.

To manage spam emails effectively, consider setting up an email filter to automatically delete or move spam emails to a separate folder. Set a reminder on your calendar to review your spam folder regularly to ensure that no legitimate emails have been misidentified as spam.

Now that we’ve discussed the advantages and disadvantages of both deleting and blocking unwanted messages, let’s explore some effective strategies you can implement to prevent future spam from reaching your inbox and keep your email account safe and organized.

Strategies to Prevent Future Spam From Reaching Your Inbox

  1. Be cautious with your email address: Avoid using your email address to sign up for questionable websites or services. Spammers often harvest email addresses from these sources. You should also avoid sharing your email address on public forums or social media platforms.
  2. Don’t reply to spam emails: Replying to spam emails only confirms that your email address is active and could result in even more spam. Instead, mark the email as spam and delete it.
  3. Unsubscribe from mailing lists from companies you know: If you receive emails from mailing lists that you’re no longer interested in, and you recognize the sender, it’s safe to unsubscribe. Most legitimate mailing lists have an unsubscribe link at the bottom of their emails. However, if you don’t recognize the sender, it’s best to mark the email as spam and delete it.
  4. Have a second junk email address: Consider creating a separate email address that you use only for sign-ups, free trials, and other situations where you’re required to enter an email address. This way, you can keep your primary email address clean and separate from the junk mail you may receive.
  5. Consider using an email forwarding service: Email forwarding services provide you with a temporary, alias email address that you can use for signing up to services or websites that require an email address. When you receive an email to the temporary email address, it is forwarded to your real email address. This way, your real email address stays private, and you can easily block or discard the temporary email address if it starts receiving unwanted email.

SimpleLogin is one such service that allows you to create unlimited aliases and provides additional features like customizable rules, domain customization, and more. I’ve used this service for over 3 years and it’s so good that Proton purchased the service from the developer, rolling it into Proton Mail.

Ultimately, as I said at the top of the article: It’s always better to block / report spam than just deleting it.

Other Questions You Might Have

How can I prevent my email address from being targeted by spammers?

One of the most effective ways to prevent your email address from being targeted by spammers is to be cautious when sharing it online. Only share it with trusted sources, and avoid posting it in public places where spammers can easily find it.

How do I know if an email is spam?

Spam emails are typically unsolicited and often contain suspicious links or attachments. They may also use deceptive tactics to get you to click on a link or provide personal information. If you’re unsure whether an email is spam, it’s best to err on the side of caution and delete it.

Are all spam emails harmful?

Not all spam emails are harmful, but many of them are designed to trick you into clicking on a link or providing personal information. It’s important to be cautious with all unsolicited emails and to take steps to protect your personal information.

What should I do if I receive a threatening or harassing spam email?

If you receive a threatening or harassing spam email, it’s essential to report it to the relevant authorities. Depending on the severity of the threat, you may also want to consider contacting your law enforcement.

Can I be held liable for spam emails sent from my account?

If your account has been compromised and used to send spam emails, you may not be held liable. However, it’s important to take steps to secure your account and prevent further spamming. This includes changing your password, enabling two-factor authentication, and running a virus scan on your computer.

Mike Chu

Mike is a web developer and content writer living as a digital nomad. With more than 20 years of devops experience, he brings his "programmer with people skills" approach to help explain technology to the average user. Check out his full author bio by clicking here.

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