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Calendar Spam is a Problem (How to Fix)

It's convenient to send digital invitations for meetings and appointments, but it's caused a rise in calendar spam. Here's how to stop calendar invite spam!

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First, there was email spam. Then came text spam. Now, as more people use digital calendars on their computers and calendar apps on their mobile devices, many people get digital calendar spam. That means more clutter in our in-box from people we don’t know. Calendar invite spam has to stop.

A New Frontier For Spamming

Spammers are always looking for that way in to get their messages or links in front of more people. Now, they’ve found that they can take advantage of Google’s convenient email and calendar integration feature to inundate more people with their junk. Spammers previously went after Apple to exploit a similar calendar invite feature a few years ago.

Created as a way to help Google Calendar users save time with scheduling and meeting invites, the Google Calendar invite feature lets you  automatically add meeting invites to your calendar.  Although the meeting invite only appears as an outline until the recipient selects “yes” or “no,” the meeting invite still appears on a user’s Google Calendar.   

The Calendar Invite Spam Threat is Real

Spammers have upped their game with this ploy. When a user clicks on the event description within that meeting invite, it reveals a spam message, which can have malicious links embedded in it. Spammers want users to cllick on those links, of course, because it can lead to the potential of capturing personal information. If a user does click on the link, it tells the spammer that it’s an active email account. From there, the spammer can inundate the user with unsolicited emails.

Except for the spammers, no one, including Google, is pleased with this new scheme. Google has reiterated its privacy policy and focus on protecting its users. Plus, the company has provided guidance on how to address calendar invite spam.

How to Remove Calendar Spam from Your Google Calendar

There are some quick ways to shut down calendar spam notifications from within your Google Calendar.

  1. Open your Google Calendar.
  2. Click on the gear icon, which is located at the top of the Google Calendar page.
  3. Select “Settings” from this menu.
  4. Next, choose “Event settings” from the list located on the left side.
  5. Change the “Automatically add invitations” option to the other choice listed, which is “No, only show invitations to which I have responded.” This means a meeting will only be added to your Google Calendar if you accept the meeting invite.

This process should remove all calendar invite spam from your Google Calendar so you can stop wasting your time opening invites that aren’t real and minimize your risk for becoming a victim of something more malicious.

How to Remove Calendar Spam from Your Microsoft Calendar

To remove calendar invite spam from your Microsoft Calendar (Outlook), you need to remove the automatic meeting request process. Doing so will stop the meeting from showing up on your Microsoft Calendar in the first place. From there, you can delete the spam email in your inbox or opt to mark it as spam.

Although it’s a secure method for addressing calendar invite spam, it also means that none of your meeting requests, including all the legitimate meeting requests, will be processed until you click “accept” in the initial email invitation. This could mean you miss a meeting request, but it also cuts out the spam. Here’s how to remove the spam:

  1. In Outlook, go to File and then “Options.”
  2. Then, select “Mail” from the Options menu.
  3. In the Mail menu, choose “Tracking.”
  4. Under “Tracking,” deselect the option that says, “Automatically process meeting requests and responses to meeting requests and polls.”

How to Remove Calendar Spam from Your Apple Calendar

Although you can’t currently report and remove calendar spam on iPhone, iPad, and Mac except to just delete, Apple does have a process for handling this spam via iCloud.com, which may reduce it across all your Apple devices. Here’s how to address calendar invite spam from iCloud calendar:

  1. Go to iCloud on the web and log in from your desktop or laptop computer.
  2. Open the Calendar app once you are in your iCloud account.
  3. Open the spam event and then select “Report Junk.”
  4. Click “OK.”

When you report calendar spam through iCloud, it will also be removed from all Apple devices that are synced with your iCloud account.

How to Remove Calendar Spam from Your Yahoo Calendar

You may also receive calendar spam in your Yahoo Calendar. Yahoo has a very basic process for dealing with these spam Calendar invitations. Yahoo recommends treating the calendar invite spam like normal spam email by clicking the ‘spam’ button.

From there, you have to delete the individual event from your calendar separately. Choose the option that says “Delete” when clicking on the event. Don’t respond to the invitation itself or click any of the notifications within the invitation like where it says “Decline” because this will send a response to the spammer, which is exactly what you are trying to avoid. Then, you can also report calendar invite spam to Yahoo.

Remain Vigilant

Spammers will continue to “innovate” their exploitive tactics by studying new software and app features to get what they want. To slow the pace of spammers’ efforts and perhaps even discourage them, it’s important that we all remain vigilant when it comes to understanding and blocking their schemes.

Here’s to a spam free calendar in the coming years!

Calendar Spam is a Problem (How to Fix) was originally published on Calendar by John Rampton.

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