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Gmail feature allows strangers to email you

Monday - 1/13/2014, 2:50pm  ET

WASHINGTON - Who's clogging your inbox now?

A new Gmail feature allows strangers to send users email even if they don't know the exact address.

"By default when you sign up for Gmail, a Google+ account gets set up for you," says Ken Colburn of the Data Doctors.

Anyone on Google+ can email another in the system without knowing the person's email.

"If you're on Google+ and they're on Google+ their profile will come up and you can email them through the system," Colburn says, "That means any spammer, anybody from anywhere, can start sending me emails and a lot of people are a little upset about that."

How do you block the spammers and keep the strangers at bay?

On the Gmail main page, go to settings by clicking on the gear icon and selecting "settings." Scroll down the page to answer the question "Who can email me via Google+?"

"You can set that to just your circles or the extended circles, which is, in the Facebook world, friends and friends of friends. Or you can select "no one," Colburn says.

You can also opt out of Google+ altogether by doing the following:

From the Google+ homepage, click "home" and select "settings." At the very bottom of the Goggle+ settings page is the option to disable Google+.

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Tags: gmail