How To Check Spam on Gmail

Do you know how to check your spam folder on Gmail / G Suite?  Thanks to improved email filtering and widespread knowledge, spam filters have gotten much better.  But, the better that spam filters get, the more of us forget how to check our spam folder.  We're not doing it so often, so it becomes easy to forget how to do it.  The main ways that Spam filters have improved over the past few years are as follows:

  • Type I Errors: fewer times where legitimate emails end up being identified as spam
  • Type II Errors: fewer times where spam emails end up evading the spam filter and making it into your inbox

That said, despite the improvements over the years, we recommend you check your spam folder every few weeks.

WHAT IS SPAM

Despite Monty Python’s belief, spam usually refers to unwanted, unsolicited email. Sometimes the spam email is harmless, like an advertisement for a product you showed no interest in beforehand, but on the other hand, spam may lead to a scam where it leads you to download malware or give up personal information.

Chances are your company or your personal email service employs some sort of spam filtering, most utilizing Naive Bayes spam filtering. This technique uses words and other email identifiers and calculates the probability whether the message is or is not spam. It’s not a perfect strategy, but been reasonably effective for many organizations.

HOW DOES GMAIL FILTER FOR SPAM?

Gmail filters for spam in three ways:

  • Text Filters: Google identifies words or phrases common to spam emails, like “online pharmacy.” While this has led spammers to start misspelling these keywords (spelling “vicodin” as “v1cod1n”) filters have caught up and include ways to catch the spam.
  • Client Filters: Google uses client information to determine whether an email is likely spam. It looks at messages a user sends, and if other recipients mark messages as spam, Google will likely mark the sender as spam across the board.
  • Marked By You: You can mark any email in your inbox as spam. From that moment forward, that sender will always be marked as spam.

It’s important to note that this system is not perfect. An email may have met the criteria and come from a coworker, a friend, a family member, etc. That’s why you should be checking your spam folder somewhat frequently, as all emails marked as spam will be permanently deleted after 30 days.

HOW TO CHECK SPAM IN GMAIL

Follow these steps.

  1. Under “Inbox” click “More”
How To Check Spam on Gmail - Click More


  1. Scroll down and click “Spam”
  1. On Mobile, click the hamburger menu to find the spam folder. In some Mail apps that use Gmail, the spam folder is called “Junk.”
How To Check Spam on Gmail - Mobile

  1. Scroll through your messages.

If you see any messages that aren’t spam, proceed with caution. It’s possible a contact was hacked and sent out an email with dangerous contents.

 

WHAT IF SPAM IS IN MY MAIN GMAIL PROFILE?

If an email in your main inbox passes through Gmail’s spam filters, mark it spam yourself by clicking the warning exclamation point on the top of your email.

How To Check Spam on Gmail - Mark Spam

WHY IT’S SO IMPORTANT TO CHECK SPAM

You carry important/sensitive information on your devices—bank account numbers, passwords, etc. You also likely carry important company information as well. If you fall victim to a spam attack, you put your information and your company information at risk.

At Havoc Shield, we know how important it is to keep your inbox safe. That’s why we offer Mail Armor, a program where we’ll inspect any message you find suspicious, and we'll let you know if it's safe to interact with. Learn more about Mail Armor and all of Havoc Shield’s security features here.