[UPDATED] Spam events in Google Calendar? Here’s how to get rid of them…

Google / Security / Tech
Spam events in Google Calendar screenshot

The good news is that it’s super easy to disable spam events from being automatically added to your Google Calendar.

It’s bad enough that we have to deal with spam daily in our inbox. The other day, I noticed a newer type of spam. Spam events showed up in my Google Calendar, as can be seen in the image above and screenshots below. Being on a relatively dormant account, I didn’t notice it right away.

UPDATED (08/27/2019): Google is aware of the issue and let us know they’re looking into it and working on a fix.

ORIGINAL ARTICLE:

The events, obviously spam and likely phishing attempts, were reminding me that I won an iPhone X Max.

Screenshots showing spam event notification and entry in Google Calendar on Android device
I was first alerted to the spam event by a notification on my Android device.

Considering I’ve never entered any such contest, coupled with the obvious spam link, I started to wonder how they even got there in the first place. I couldn’t find any email in my inbox with any such event so it wasn’t added from there. I checked my spam folder as well and didn’t see anything that may have triggered it either. My next thought was that maybe I got hacked, but I have 2FA on so it couldn’t be that…

So, of course, I turned to Google to source the issue. As it turns out, all someone has to do is invite you to an “event” and it will automatically add it to your Google Calendar by default. While you should get an email for the invitation, as mentioned above, I couldn’t find one that seemed related. At any rate, yes, there is a setting that automatically adds invitations and it’s set to “Yes” by default.

The good news is that it’s super easy to disable with three simple steps.

  1. First, open your Google Calendar on desktop and click the settings cog in the upper right hand corner.
  2. Next, select the Event settings menu item under General on the left hand side.
  3. Finally, change Automatically add invitations to “No, only show invitation to which I have responded.”

Once you’ve done that, the spam events should disappear from your calendar, as seen in the screenshot below. Should the event have already passed or you declined it, you can hide it from your calendar by going to View Options from the left menu and uncheck “Show declined events.” We’ve had a couple of comments saying that the events don’t disappear for some users. Unfortunately, like anything, YMMV but this process worked in my case.

After changing the settings, the spam events in my calendar disappeared
After changing the settings, the spam events in my calendar disappeared.

Interestingly enough, while they disappeared from my desktop calendar, they still showed up in Google Calendar on my phone. To get rid of them, I simply opened one, deleted all recurring events, and they disappeared from my phone calendar as well.

Screenshots of before and after removing recurring spam events from Google Calendar on an Android smartphone
Screenshots of before and after removing recurring spam events from Google Calendar on an Android smartphone.

If you want to go one step further, you can turn off events from Gmail being automatically added as well. Keep in mind, however, you’re reservations or flights will no longer be added to your Google Calendar, which, in my opinion, is a handy feature. To turn this off, simply select Events from Gmail from the left menu and unchecking “Automatically add events from Gmail to my calendar.

While turning such a setting on by default has good intentions, the unfortunate truth is that spammers and hackers are constantly looking for ways to try to trick users into clicking on their links for various purposes.

Have you received spam events in your Google Calendar? Did you find this quick guide to removing them helpful? Let us know in the comments below or on Twitter, Facebook, or MeWe.

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