A reader is fed up with receiving offensive emails:

“I am a grateful fan of yours for all the great tips and articles you send us. I am 79 years old, and I am so so so disgusted at continually receiving filthy, pornographic, explicit sexual language in my emails. I do not visit questionable sites (or so I thought) that would sell me off to filthy spammers. My spam folder automatically puts all these spam email and filth which I then delete the messages.  I do not understand why Gmail does not catch these things, especially if they track everything you do and where you go, don’t they see what my online habits are which is mainly digital scrapbooking? Unless they think this is something I like and subscribe to so therefore they allow it to continue. Sigh!!”

I know this probably isn’t going to make you feel better, but don’t take it personally.  It’s not necessary for anyone to sell your information to spammers. In fact, spammers aren’t likely to pay for email addresses. Sometimes they get addresses by infecting the PCs of people who have you among their contacts and they just run through every email address in someone’s contact list. But increasingly they just use automated programs to send out emails to random email addresses. In this case, they just send out tens of millions of pornographic emails hoping that they find enough people who are interested in clicking.

Gmail actually is catching these messages by putting them into your spam folder. There’s really no way they can stop spammers from sending them unless the block an entire domain and that can be tricky since scammers don’t use their real email addresses. Unless you think important messages are going into spam, you can avoid that folder entirely.

If one of these emails sneaks through the spam filter, make sure to mark it as spam.

Gmail does learn from this. Another step is to create a filter where emails containing certain words are automatically deleted or put into a special folder.

We’ll start by opening Gmail. Click on the gear icon in the upper-right and choose Settings from the drop-down menu.

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Click on Filters and Blocked Addresses at the top.

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Click on Create a New Filter.

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You can create filters based on who the message is from or the recipient of the message. You can also sort by subject or by words contained in the message. You might need to type some choice words once, but this can save you a lot of dirty emails if you pick the right words for the filter.

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Then tell Gmail to delete the message.

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