Reducing and Managing
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They're the loud, boorish gate-crashers that you didn't invite to the
party. Every day, you toss them out on the curb, yet they're right back in
front of your eyes the next time you go to your mailbox.
Unsolicited messages, commonly called "spam," comprise approximately 20
percent of all e-mail, according to industry estimates. Respectable
businesses will remove your e-mail address from their mailing list if you
ask. However, many spammers want to push their offers into as many e-mail
boxes as possible and will take any response-even if it's "REMOVE ME FROM
YOUR LIST!"-as encouragement to keep sending out new messages.
Currently, there is no way to ensure a 100 percent spam-free e-mail box.
You can make it more difficult for spammers to get your e-mail address,
however. There are also steps you can take when unwanted e-mail does arrive
in your mailbox. Plus you can ask your Internet Service Provider (ISP) and
other organizations to help you identify a spam mail's origins. You can use
that information to try to block future mailings from known spammers.
Here are some tips to help prevent spam from filling your e-mail box:
- Never respond to a spam e-mail, even to unsubscribe. The e-mail
message may include instructions on how to remove your address from the
organization's list, such as telling you to reply with REMOVE in the
subject line or to call a phone number. However, many spammers do this
only to try to confirm that they have reached a real person's e-mail
account. Unless you are unsubscribing from a distribution list that you
signed up for or you know the sender of the message, it is safer to
discard the message without responding.
- Create an alternate e-mail address to use on the Internet. Your
primary e-mail address should only be given to friends, family, business
contacts, and other people whom you know. Consider setting up a second
e-mail address to use when filling out information requests, applications
for special offers, and other forms on the Web.
- Review all user agreements. When signing up for Web-based
services such as online banking, shopping, or online newsletters, you
should carefully review the corresponding user agreements and make sure
that you undo any default opt-in settings for email.
- Set up filters to block known spammers' messages. Many e-mail
programs offer a "filter" option that you can use to automatically send
junk and adult-content mail to a specified folder-or the trash. Many
programs will allow you to filter on e-mail names as well. To ensure you
do not accidentally throw away mail from friends and family, consider
creating a "junk mail" folder for your filtered messages. Be sure to check
the folder before you empty it.
- Report spammers to ISPs, e-mail providers, and the Federal Trade
Commission (FTC). Most Internet Service Providers (ISP) and account
providers have a complaint address for e-mail issues. If you get unwanted
mail, look at the return address. The ISP name should be in the middle
(between the "@" sign and the designator, e.g., ".com"). Forward a copy of
the spam mail to the ISP's complaint address. Most providers will take
steps to eliminate spammers from their system. In addition, send a copy of
any deceptive or unwanted mail to the FTC at
firstname.lastname@example.org. The FTC uses its database of unsolicited messages to
pursue law-enforcement actions against senders of spam. (The FTC only can
take action against spammers based in the U.S.)
Spam appears to be here to stay, at least for now. Taking these steps can
help you reduce your exposure to this online nuisance, however.
Although there are a few procedures to reduce the amount of
junk email or spam, there is really little that you can do to stop all
spam from reaching your computer. Outlook does offer a tool that
will automatically move spam to the deleted items folder based on the
content or the sender. Outlook can search for commonly used phrases in e-mail
messages and automatically move messages containing these phrases from
your Inbox to either a junk e-mail folder created by Outlook, to
your Deleted Items folder, or to any other folder you specify.
You can also filter messages with a list of senders of junk
and adult content e-mail. As you receive unwanted e-mail messages, you can
create a list of the e-mail addresses of these senders.
When you first begin using these features or when you make
modifications to them, you should review messages that are automatically
removed from the Inbox to make sure that any wanted messages are
not accidentally removed.
To automatically move junk mail from your Inbox
- On the standard toolbar, click Organize.
- Click Junk E-Mail.
- In the bulleted items for Junk and for Adult Content
messages, in each of the first lists, click move. When you click
move, the second list on each line will change from a list of
colors to a list of folder destinations.
- You can leave the default destination (Junk E-Mail), click
Deleted Items, or click Other folder and choose or create
- Click Turn On to enable the feature.
- Repeat steps 3 through 5 for both the Junk and Adult Content lines.
In addition to using the built-in Outlook filters, you can create
custom rules to filter out specific types of unwanted messages. Custom
rules include additional words or phases that are not included in the
Filters.txt file. Just as with the built-in feature, you can specify that
the rules you create move messages from your Inbox to the junk
e-mail folder, to your Deleted Items folder, or to any other folder
To create custom rules:
- Click Inbox.
- Select a message, and then right-click it.
- Point to Junk E-Mail, and then click Add to Junk Senders
list or Add to Adult Content Senders list.
To review or delete e-mail senders on your junk e-mail list
- On the standard toolbar, click Organize
- Click Junk E-Mail.
- Click the underlined phrase click here.
- In the second bulleted item, click Edit Junk Senders or
Edit Adult Content Senders.
You can review, add, edit, or delete entries from the list.
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