Oregon State University

What should I do when I receive Spam email?

Instructions on what to do and what not to do when you recieve a message you believe to be spam.


  • Never reply to Spam messages, even when they entice you to reply to "remove" you from their mailing lists. Often the instructions are either bogus, or a way to collect more addresses. Replying confirms to the spammers that your e-mail address is active, and you may receive even more junk mail.
  • Don't flame (send a rude message) or mail bomb the spammers address. Many spammers forge e-mail addresses to hide their real identity, so you may be flaming or bombing a nonexistent account or, worse, the account of an innocent person.
  • Don't buy anything through unsolicited advertising by e-mail, even if the product is something you want. Buying the product legitimizes the spam, and thus adds to the problem. Moreover, many of these offers are fraudulent.
  • Report the spam - follow the instructions at Reporting Spam & Phishing.

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