Published on May 22

How to clean your email and reach inbox zero today

A comprehensive guide on how to clean your Email and reach Inbox Zero. Mastering the art of unsubscribing from unwanted emails as well as education on how and when to send data deletion requests.

How to clean your email and reach inbox zero today

Clean your email and reach Inbox Zero

In an age dominated by digital communication, email has become an integral part of our daily lives. However, as the frequency of online interactions increases, so does the prevalence of email scams and phishing attacks. These deceptive tactics, often disguised as legitimate correspondence, aim to exploit individuals by tricking them into revealing sensitive information or clicking on malicious links.

This article serves as a comprehensive guide on how to clean your Email and reach Inbox Zero, offering practical insights and proactive measures to shield individuals from falling victim to nefarious online schemes or that are burdened by email anxiety.

Who is reaching out to me?

Simply put, the more we are out there on the Internet, the more data we leave behind, that is used to target us afterwards. There are two scenarios in which non-personal email(s) land in our Inbox, such as companies that reach out to us to advertise their new products, features, or special deals we may be eligible for.

LEGIT reach-out

Legitimate companies that have obtained our consent prior to the communication.

GREY reach-out

Legitimate companies that did NOT obtain our lawful content or with which we never interacted in the past.

MALICIOUS reach-out

Bad actors get hold of our personal data through acquisition on the “white” and “dark” web, phishing, data leaks, hacking, malware and so on. These will likely try to:

SPAM

Sell you something unsolicited.

SCAM

Scam you directly in one way or another (including direct phishing for scams).

PHIS(ING)

Any activity where the receiver is an intermediary “target” aimed at getting access / information for a larger (scamming) scheme.

There could be endless divisions, but we believe this covers most of the cases you will be facing as a regular Internet user.


How do they know who I am? The Perils of Prolific Sharing.

To put it simply, your data cannot get hacked or leaked if it is not there in the first place. I know this sounds impossible, considering our interconnected and online lives, but bear with me.

Having your data shared with 1000 companies is not the same as having it shared with 100 companies.

This reduces the risk of your data getting leaked by 10x. And we did not select these numbers arbitrarily. An average Internet user has their data shared with over 700 companies. The chances of one of those companies getting hacked is quite high, even if they continuously invest in security and prevention. And one hack is all it takes for that Spam and Phishing mail to start rolling in.

Each additional entity becomes a potential weak link in safeguarding your personal information, amplifying the likelihood of your data falling into the wrong hands.

To mitigate these risks, it is imperative to adopt a cautious approach when sharing your email. Scrutinize privacy policies, utilize disposable or dedicated email addresses for non-critical interactions, and stay vigilant against potential scams. In an interconnected digital landscape, safeguarding your email is not merely a matter of convenience but a crucial step in preserving your online security and privacy. In other words ....

STOP REGISTERING FOR STUFF YOU DON’T NEED !

Now, in order to fix this you can either choose to use one method of blocking or stop receiving the communication trough some form of unsubscribe OR delete the data from the company alltogether.

If the “damage is already done” and your data is already all over the place, there is still hope. Using a tool like againstdata.com, you can both unsubscribe from various newsletters, while you keep using the service, or delete the data from the companies you no longer use. Whereas unsubscribing works instantly, once a company receives a deletion request, it needs to respond to you within 30 days (provided you live in a jurisdiction like the E.U.). So, you need to be patient if you want to fix the core of the problem. But we will tell you more about that in a minute.


Unsubscribing. A quick and effective first response.

We all saw that button at the bottom of emails, most of us clicked on it hoping emails will go away.

It does not always work.

Legislation is pushing companies more and more to make unsubscribing easier and straightforward for users. But this is not always the case, and there have been many instances where you probably unsubscribed and still got some emails afterwards. This is because most companies hold your personal data (like your email) in different databases and newsletters, often managed by different parts of the business. You may receive some new product features from the Product team and you may receive a great offer from the Commercials team.

Unsubscribe does not mean Delete.

One of the ways you can make sure your options are respected is to use a tool like againstdata.com that helps you unsubscribe selectively from different newsletters. If you, for example, want to continue using a streaming service, but do not want to be notified on new releases, you can simply choose to unsubscribe from the email address sending you the newsletter. This ensures that you can still share the necessary personal data with the company so that they can continue to provide the service. At the same time, the newsletter will go away.

The good thing is that this works with any email from which you receive unwanted communication, and the effect is instant.


Deletion requests. A tactical tool that packs a punch.

Giving away your email for that sweet -20% discount at the pharmacy? Guess what, you are getting 40+ emails a month now from them. Well, there is also a last resort for companies that you really want to get rid of …

Our emails are one of the major gateways by which companies or other individuals can gain access. One powerful tool at our disposal is the ability to submit personal data deletion requests to online platforms and service providers. While it may seem like a routine administrative task, strategically using these requests can be a game-changer in reclaiming control over your digital presence and enhancing your online privacy and keeping your email clean at the same time.

Many online platforms thrive on collecting and analysing user data to tailor advertisements and content. By deleting unnecessary personal information, you disrupt the ability of companies to create detailed profiles for marketing purposes. This not only reduces the influx of personalized ads but also limits the extent to which your behaviourand preferences are exploited for commercial gain.

Strategically utilizing personal data deletion requests allows you to present a more intentional and streamlined digital identity. In the era of digital hygiene, where individuals aim to present a cohesive and controlled online persona, deleting outdated or irrelevant information is key. This not only declutters your digital footprint but also ensures that the information you choose to share is accurate and reflective of your current preferences and activities. A streamlined digital identity not only enhances your online security but also contributes to a more authentic and trustworthy online presence.

When a company receives a deletion request it has a legal obligation to respond to the requester within 30 days. During this time, it will try to confirm your identity and may request some additional information to asses if it is a valid request. Secondly, it will research where and what data it has on you, and for what reason. Once these investigations are made, they need to fulfil the deletion request and communicate this back to you.

You need however to be aware that there is some personal data that the companies cannot delete, because it is against the law. For example, if you are a past customer of the company, they usually have a legal obligation to keep your financial information for a period of time that you used for invoicing. If your deletion request comes before the expiry limit of the legal requirement, they will need to hold on to that data until then.

Personal data deletion requests are not just administrative chores; they are powerful tools that can be harnessed to regain control over your digital life and keep your email “passport” safe.

There are however downsides also. One of them is that most companies require some personal data to deliver their products and services. This means that very often, the deletion of data from a company also implies the deletion of the account you have with that company. For example, if you have an account with a social media platform, if you request the deletion of data, you will most likely also need to delete your account. Another downside is that this only works with LEGIT companies, that care about their customers and / or the applicable law. If you are receiving spam from untrustworthy entities, probably unsubscribing / blocking them is your best option.


All else failed and some spam still may be getting through.

Here are some quick tips to asses if an email message is not what it is claiming to be:

Check the email address:

Examine the sender's email address carefully. Legitimate organizations will have domain names that match their official websites. Be cautious if the email address looks suspicious or has misspellings.

Hover your mouse over any hyperlinks in the email without clicking. This action will reveal the actual URLs. Ensure it matches the official website of the supposed sender.

Verify the sender's name:

Scammers may use a display name that looks legitimate. Check the sender's actual email address rather than relying solely on the displayed name.

Look for spelling and grammar Errors:

Legitimate organizations typically have well-crafted communications. Be wary of emails with frequent spelling and grammar mistakes, as these could be indicators of a phishing attempt.

Check for personalization:

Legitimate emails from reputable sources often address you by your full name. Be skeptical of generic greetings like "Dear Customer" or emails that lack personalization.

Contact the sender directly:

If you're unsure about the legitimacy of an email, contact the sender directly using official contact information. Do not use the contact details provided in the suspicious email.

Verify with customer support:

Contact the customer support of the supposed sender using independently obtained contact information to confirm the legitimacy of the communication.

Use sender authentication tools:

Some email providers offer authentication tools like DMARC, DKIM, and SPF. While these tools are not full proof, they can help verify the authenticity of an email.

Enable preview pane:

Use the preview pane feature in your email client to view the content of an email without opening it. This allows you to assess its legitimacy before fully engaging with it.

Check for unusual requests:

Be suspicious of emails requesting sensitive information, urgent actions, or financial transactions. Verify such requests independently before taking any action.

Utilize email security features:

Email providers often have built-in security features and spam filters. Make sure these features are enabled to help filter out potentially malicious emails.

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