Technology in terms you understand. Sign up for the Confident Computing newsletter for weekly solutions to make your life easier. Click here and get The Ask Leo! Guide to Staying Safe on the Internet — FREE Edition as my thank you for subscribing!

Why am I suddenly getting spam in my inbox?

Question: Hi, there. I’ve been using my Yahoo email since 2009 and I’ve never had problems with receiving so many spams into my inbox folder. But recently, within like the last two weeks, there was an abrupt influx of some spams claiming that I had won lotteries other that I’m eligible to their belongings and they’re all managing to authenticate themselves to Yahoo’s servers because I’m finding themselves in my inbox folder, not my spam folder. Now I know that these are scams but my question is why is it after all these years of using my email, I’m now encountering this problem?

Spam and spam fighting is a really complex game of cat and mouse. Spammers are constantly trying to find their way into your inbox. I have a few ideas of what could possibly have happened in your situation.

Become a Patron of Ask Leo! and go ad-free!

Overloads, hacks & tricks

Spam filtering services can sometimes get overloaded and as a result, choose not to filter at all. Rather than delay or deny what might be legitimate email, they elect instead to simply deliver it, even if they can’t run their spam analysis on it. This doesn’t happen often, but when it does, it manifests as a sudden influx of spam.

Also, accounts can get hacked. You said that the spam can somehow “authenticate” now. Authentication means that they can login as a Yahoo! user. One way that can happen is if spammers have hacked someone’s Yahoo account. Now they can use that account to send spam, even spam that looks like it comes from a non-Yahoo address.

As I said, it’s a game of cat and mouse. Spammers are constantly looking for new tricks and new techniques that will bypass existing spam filters. They may just have found a new one. If that’s the case, I would expect the spam filter to continue the game of cat and mouse by eventually catching up: figuring out the loophole, and plugging it to stem the tide.

Using the junk or spam button on email in your inbox that’s obviously spam is, in fact, one way you can help.

No SPAM!You’re on a new list

Here’s another possibility: you may have just gotten on to a new spammer’s list.

Spammers can make money by selling their lists to one another. If your name was on one such list, you may now be getting spam from a completely new source that isn’t yet recognized by the spam filter. Once again, I’d expect the spam filter to eventually catch up, and again, using the junk or spam button on that kind of email can help speed up the process just a little.

Since there’s zero absolute accountability in email (meaning that there’s no-one checking that you are who you say you are), it’s nearly impossible to stop all spam. As you’ve seen, this kind of thing can come in waves.

The best thing that you can do is to simply use the spam or junk button on spam emails in your inbox… and just not get too worked up about it.

Do this

Subscribe to Confident Computing! Less frustration and more confidence, solutions, answers, and tips in your inbox every week.

I'll see you there!

29 comments on “Why am I suddenly getting spam in my inbox?”

  1. I have my own seb site and found I must have been picked up by several spammers. Over 100 per day were getting through to my computer.

    I have found that Thunderbird is pretty good at spotting spam there. I set it to automatically send Spam to the Trash where I can review it for something I actually want that might have been sent in error.

    Google (gmail) has a good reputation for catching spam. Yahoo users might want to check that out. Plus gmail can use POP or SMTP and has a huge amount of space available.

    If a Yahoo user, check out the spam settings inside your own Yahoo account. In the past they have changed what comes through automatically and some excess spam may actually come through Yahoo itself.

  2. Yahoo is one of the worst email providers when it comes to filtering spam. I use Gmail and I rarely get spam. I can count on one hand the number of spam emails that landed in my inbox and I’ve been using Gmail since 2006

      • I agree with James B. Recently I have been getting some spam in my yahoo inbox, but normally it does an excellent job of filtering out spam.

  3. I have both GMail and Yahoo email accounts and have used them all for years. Each morning I check both. GMail has a few spam messages. while in Yahoo there’s over 100. This is exactly why I use GMail as my main email provider.

  4. Yahoo is the absolute worst when it comes to spam. I get zero on my gmail account and maybe 5 a week on hotmail. Hotmail has better filters. Yahoo used to be good email, but now it is awful. I’m moving away from yahoo and don’t plan to use anymore. Gmail rocks…….

  5. I’m getting tons of spam lately in my Yahoo account, though it is actually going into the spam folder. I never had many before, now it’s probably over a hundred per day. Guess I gave my email to the wrong site (?) At least I’ve wised up enough not to give out my main address most of the time. It’s not a huge inconvenience, just curious who to blame for the annoyance.

  6. Over 20 or more a day since the latest update. Reached out to developer no response yet. This is sad news had my email since 2003, really weird why the change.

  7. I am getting a lot of spam in my E-mail. I am so sick of it. I do not know what to do and I am extremely limited on money. Need your help. Can you fix it for me? Please !!!!

    • No, I can’t fix it for you. The only thing to be done is to mark the spam as spam, and eventually your spam filter will start to filter it to the spam folder automatically.

  8. Does printing from my computer or iPhone have anything to do with all the recent spam my computer email is receiving?

  9. I use the Gmail app on my android phone, and have several accounts synced, but in the last day or two I’ve been receiving a lot of spam within my email address, and it makes me wonder who I gave my email to lately lol. My question is why aren’t they going into the spam folder? I can’t find any settings to manage the spam filter within the app, and there is no spam button. Please help!

  10. Not to sound rude, but have you ever used the Gmail app on Android? There is no “Junk” button, or any way to mark an email as such. Instead, there are these nifty swipe features that only allow you to delete an email or archive it. Either way, the problem has now been corrected. I guess that part of the server was down for a few days. Furthermore, in no way am I attempting to make you sound unintelligent with my response, but not all email programs are cut from the same lines of code.

    • There is absolutely a junk email feature on the Gmail app. You could have determined this for yourself by just googling something simple like: gmail app junk button

      To report an email as spam in the Gmail mobile web app:

      1. Check the unwanted message or messages. You can also open a message.
      2. Press the double arrowhead button (up or down) in the toolbar.
      3. Select Report spam from the menu.

      • How do you “check” it? If I open it and hit an up or down arrow, Gmail simply goes to the next email inbox. Im beginning to really hate gmail. Every day I need to clean it up or else I will end up with 700+ emails in less than week.

  11. I’ve been getting so many junk/spam emails and sending them to report spam doesn’t work. Tried that many times and still getting the same spam messages. Haven’t had this problem with yahoo before but now I can’t seem to get rid of them.

  12. I recently changed internet providers for my home wifi. Could this be a reason that suddenly I’m receiving about 10 spam emails a day? I use hotmail for email.

  13. I’ve had a really bad spam problem for years…then suddenly around November (2016) it suddenly cured itself! Please note….I didn’t do anything that I know of or make any changes to my system. It just stopped. It was glorious…for no apparent reason the deluge of spam stopped! I was able to actually get some some work done.
    THEN…just as suddenly last week it returned just as bad as before… I’m back to getting hundreds of unwanted spam emails a day. Drowning!
    Does anybody have ANY clue how this could have happened? I thought if I could figure out what happened in November maybe I could recreate it.
    Any ideas?

    • That’s impossible. The best you can do is follow the instruction in this article and reduce the amount of spam in your inbox.

  14. Two days ago, I used (one of) my hotmail addresses to register with a hobby group ( Very bad idea: the – totally unrelated – spam started almost immediately. In the past two days, I got more junk mail at this address than I did in the past five years. Can you explain what happened? Also, how do I fix this? Would telling Ravelry to close my account help? Or is it too late and I should just delete my hotmail account? Thank you in advance for any help you can provide.


Leave a reply:

Before commenting please:

  • Read the article.
  • Comment on the article.
  • No personal information.
  • No spam.

Comments violating those rules will be removed. Comments that don't add value will be removed, including off-topic or content-free comments, or comments that look even a little bit like spam. All comments containing links and certain keywords will be moderated before publication.

I want comments to be valuable for everyone, including those who come later and take the time to read.