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how to stop legitimate real email from going into your spam or junk email folder

How To Stop Legitimate Emails Going into Your Spam or Junk Folder

“But I never got your email!”

We have all faced a situation where we didn’t receive an important email we were supposed to get, only to find it weeks later in our spam box. And it goes without saying that false spam alarms are frustrating and can potentially ruin an important deal.

However, it doesn’t have to be this way. Email service providers have spam filters in place to protect you from malicious spam, and you can train it to work to your advantage. Let’s discuss how spam filters work and how you can prevent legitimate emails from going into your spam.

How Email Filtering Works

Email filters or spam filters were designed to identify spam emails and block them from reaching the inbox. Email filtering also sorts emails into different categories. For example, social, promotions, primary are typically default categories for most email providers, on top of which you can apply custom categories.

Before an email reaches your inbox, the spam filter checks different parameters to differentiate a spam email and a legitimate email. The basic checks each message goes through before reaching the inbox are –

  • Email elements: The content of the message itself is an identifier for spam. If the subject line or the body of the message includes any aspect that makes it suspicious, the spam filter will flag it. These spam indicators include spam triggering words, suspicious links, attachments, etc.
  • Sender’s domain reputation: The sender’s domain reputation plays a vital role in email deliverability. Spam filter follows the brand reputation, spam complaint rates, bounce rates, email authentication protocols (SPF, DMARC, DKIM) of the sender to determine the placement of the message.
  • Your engagement with the sender/message: Whether you interact with a message or not impacts the future email deliverability for the particular sender. This is why you are more likely to find the first email from someone in your spam folder.

Reasons Why Emails Are Flagged as Spam

There are many reasons why a legitimate email is flagged as spam. Some of the most common reasons are –

  • The sender is not on your contact list
  • The subject line of the email contains spam triggers
  • The message includes large attachments or images
  • The content and subject line of the message has grammatical errors
  • The sender domain does not have a proper authentication protocol in place
  • The email does not include a physical address

How to Prevent Emails from Going to Your Spam


To prevent emails from going into your Gmail spam box, do the following:

  1. Add the sender to your contacts: Open an email from the sender and hover the cursor over the sender’s name. When the card appears, click Add to contacts.
  2. Mark the false spam alert as not spam: Go to an email mistakenly sent to the spam box. Click on Not spam at the top of the Email.


If an email ended up in your Outlook junk box when it was not supposed to, open that email and click on the Junk option at the top. From the dropdown menu, select Not junk. You can also do it by right-clicking on the Email from the left toolbar and clicking on the Not junk option.

Yahoo! Mail

You can prevent a sender’s email from ending up on your Yahoo Mail spam box by adding them to your contact.

To add a contact on Yahoo Mail, open a message from the sender. Place your cursor over the sender’s address, and a card will appear. Click on Add to contacts. You can also add an address to your contact by clicking on the Contacts icon located at the top of the right taskbar. Click on Add a new contact on the bottom and fill out the fields.

You can also mark a message mistakenly identified as spam by going to the message and clicking on the Not spam button over the Email beside the Delete button.

Apple Mail

To prevent the Mail app in Mac OS X and macOS from filtering messages from known senders as spam:

  1. Select Mail from the Mac OS X Mail menu and go to Preferences.
  2. Select the Junk Mail
  3. In the section “The following types of messages are exempt from junk mail filtering”, check all three boxes or as you’d prefer.
  4. Close the Preferences window.

Next, add the sender to your contacts in the Mail app:

  1. Open an email from the sender and highlight the sender’s name at the top of the Email.
  2. After highlighting it, click on the arrow that appears at the end of the address.
  3. Select the Add to contacts option from the dropdown menu.
  4. Enter additional information in the Contact information window and click

Following the ways mentioned above can improve email deliverability and reduce false spam alerts. But another critical aspect in email deliverability is to reduce the overall amount of spam. Typically, spammers collect email addresses when visible on the web, either on social networking sites or other spam lists. To decrease spam emails and improve email deliverability, you need to check the visibility of your email address.

To check your email address visibility, go to Sniff Email — an online platform dedicated to finding out if your email address exists on the Internet. Enter your email address in the search field and click fetch to find out if your email address exists on the web within a few seconds. Based on the results, you can take appropriate action to remove it.


Photo by Sigmund on Unsplash

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