Reduce spam email

Learn what spam email is, how to reduce the amount you get, and how to report it to AT&T.

Reduce spam email

Spam is unsolicited email. It’s the Internet version of junk mail. If you use email, you’re likely to get spam. Spam is usually harmless, but it can be annoying because it takes up storage space on your computer and is time-consuming to remove. Marketers trying to sell you products and services use email because it’s less expensive to send, and they can send a lot of it. Marketers create spam mailing lists in a variety of ways, including:
  • Scanning online discussion groups for email addresses
  • Buying or stealing Internet mailing lists
  • Searching the Web for email addresses
  • Randomly guessing email addresses

How to avoid spam

Try the following tips for keeping junk mail to a minimum.
  • Alter your email address in public forums. If you post your email address in a public place, you may want to alter the address slightly. One way to do this is to add an x element to your user ID when you post a message. For instance, instead of, use or Try to be as creative as possible with both the placement and use of special characters. That way, even if a crafty spammer uses a user ID scanning program, you'll have a better chance to beat it. (Just remember to remove the x element if you answer a post with email.)
  • Don't give out your email address without knowing how it will be used. Read the terms of use and privacy statements of any site before providing your email address. If you can't find the site's privacy statement, don't give them your address.
  • Don’t reply to a spam email, even if the spammer offers to unsubscribe you. A reply tells the spammer your email address is active and you'll get more junk email.
  • Don’t click a URL or website address listed within a spam email. Clicking these links tells the spammer your email address is active, potentially resulting in more spam.
  • Don’t sign up with websites that promise to remove your name from spam lists. Although some of these sites may be legitimate, more often than not, they’re address collectors. The legitimate sites are ignored (or exploited) by the spammers, and the address collection sites are owned by spammers. In both cases, your address is recorded and valued more highly because you have just identified that your address as active.
Avoid forwarding spam
Email messages that are forwarded multiple times, like jokes or email hoaxes, can be an easy way for spammers to harvest email addresses. Protect yourself and your colleagues by removing all addresses when you forward emails.

To remove addresses before forwarding or replying, select and delete all the addresses that appear in the message body.

Keep your friends and colleagues safe

Another way to protect colleagues is to keep their email addresses private when you send group emails.
To hide addresses, use the BCC field instead of the TO field for all your recipients. Sending email works the same, but the TO field displays undisclosed recipients instead of your colleagues' names and email addresses.

Report spam abuse
To report spam, forward it to When you forward the email, be sure to include the full header. Without it, we can't tell where the email came from.
Last updated: December 7, 2022