Even if you never get caught in their trap, email spam — especially malicious emails attempting to scam you — can torment you.
Whether you’re getting an email from someone claiming to be a Nigerian prince or posing as an Amazon Prime customer service agent, it’s important to use common sense with your personal or financial information online.
Even if you never fall for a phishing email, swatting away those emails can be a never-ending task that would cause even Sisyphus to shudder.
Is reporting these emails as spam worthwhile? Or is it a waste of your energy?
That’s what a listener of the Clark Howard Podcast recently asked.
Should I Take the Time To Report Spam Emails To My Email Provider?
Am I doing anything legitimate when I report spam emails? Or is it just a waste of time?
That’s what a Clark listener wanted to know on the April 11 podcast episode.
Asked Rhonda in Alabama: “I get a lot of spam emails phishing for my personal information. I have a tab on my Hotmail that says ‘Report Phishing.’ I have reported hundreds of emails that are clearly trying to get me to click on them and give them my personal information.
“Am I wasting my time reporting these emails? Is there anyone on the other end that is actually doing something about these potentially dangerous emails? Or should I just block them and move on?”
You shouldn’t let the hope of choking out all the would-be scammers in your inbox consume your days. But you are part of an army of people reporting phishing attempts every day, Clark says. And it can make a difference. At least for the specific email address you’re reporting.
There is a way to stop and report spam emails.
“If enough people report to Hotmail, Gmail or whatever, they block the sender from being able to send emails. So you’re not wasting your time,” Clark says.
“It’s a game of whack-a-mole. You are doing something that hopefully is helpful, at least to others. But it is a constant barrage of these scam emails that are coming in. It’s a plague of modern life, just as it is with all the scam texts and spam texts that are showing up repeatedly in our phones from phony or dishonest texters.”
Reporting spam and phishing emails can help block that email address from being allowed to send emails.
However, there’s no great solution to preventing scammers from ever accessing email. Because it’s easy to open a free email account, and it has been for years.
The best thing you can do is to educate yourself on what spam emails look like. If people avoid getting scammed, the scammers won’t have a way to make any money. (Here’s Clark’s No. 1 rule to avoid email scams.)
However, it can be helpful to report spam in your inbox. That way your email provider can shut down that particular scammer from using that particular email address to do financial harm to someone else.