Drew explains how to prevent junk emails and create a safe senders list.
It is now more important than ever to implement the correct spam security level in your email services with 97 per cent of all emails sent worldwide being classified as junk. Drew explains in five different email systems how to prevent junk emails and create a safe senders list.
Junk email is commonly referred to as spam and refers to unsolicited, often unwanted, email messages. Spam does not necessarily contain viruses - valid messages from legitimate sources could fall into this category.
Seven ways to reduce the amount of spam you receive
Don't give your email address out arbitrarily
Email addresses have become so common that a space for them is often included on any form that asks for your address, even comment cards at restaurants. It seems harmless, so many people write them in the space provided without realising what could happen to that information. For example, companies often enter the addresses into a database so that they can keep track of their customers and the customers' preferences. Sometimes these lists are sold to or shared with other companies, and suddenly you are receiving email which you didn't request.
Check privacy policies
Be aware of options selected by default
When you sign up for some online accounts or services, there may be a section that provides you with the option to receive email about other products and services. Sometimes there are options selected by default, so if you do not deselect them, you could begin to receive email from those lists as well.
Many email programs offer filtering capabilities that allow you to block certain addresses or to only allow email from addresses on your contact list. Some ISPs offer spam "tagging" or filtering services, but legitimate messages misclassified as spam might be dropped before reaching your inbox. However, many ISPs which offer filtering services also provide options for tagging suspected spam messages so the end user can more easily identify them. This can be useful in conjunction with filtering capabilities provided by many email programs.
Don't follow links in spam messages
Some spam relies on generators that try variations of email addresses at certain domains. If you click a link within an email message or reply to a certain address, you are just confirming that your email address is valid. Unwanted messages that offer an "unsubscribe" option are particularly tempting, but this is often just a method for collecting valid addresses that are then sent to other spammers. Also, don’t reply to the messages as this will only validate your email as active.
Disable the automatic downloading of graphics in HTML mail
Many spammers send HTML mail with a linked graphic file that is then used to track who opens the mail message - when your mail client downloads the graphic from their web server, they know you've opened the message. Disabling HTML mail entirely and viewing messages in plain text also prevents this problem.
Consider opening an additional email account
Many domains offer free email accounts. If you frequently submit your email address (for online shopping, signing up for services, or including it on something like a comment card), you may want to have a secondary email account to protect your primary email account from any spam that could be generated. You should also use a secondary account when posting to online bulletin boards, chat rooms, public mailing lists so that you can get rid of it when it starts filling up with spam.
In Microsoft Outlook, click on “Tools” and then “Options”.
This will open up the Options window and the default will be Preferences. This is where we want to start!
Click on the “Junk Email button” and you will be presented with a number of different tab options.
The first tab we will start on is Options. As you see there are a number of different filtering options. Currently, I have the Low option clicked and receive quite a few, but not a large amount of spam email (not enough to annoy me). I check my Junk Email regularly and have yet to find a single email that I require being placed into there. It is possible to select High, but I would suggest checking your Junk Email box weekly. It is also important to click the ‘Don’t turn on links in messages’ option.
The next tab is Safe Senders. This is quite useful for keeping all your friends on your safe list. The wonderful thing is that you don’t have to add just a full email address; you can add the domain in which the email is coming from, such as @yourlifechoices.com.au. We will step you through setting up our Enewsletter address as the example.
Click the add button located on the right hand side of the screen. Type in @yourlifechoices.com.au and click ok.
Once you have done this, you can add in more addresses by clicking add again.
The next important step can be seen in the above image. At the bottom of the screen on the left there are two tick boxes, one is clicked and one isn’t for Also trust email from my Contacts and Automatically add people I email to the Safe Senders List.
It is very important to click both of these (I have also clicked the 2nd box now!). This will automatically add emails to your safe senders list without you having to go through this step process every time!
Now that we have added our friends and work colleagues to our lists, it is time to filter the junk!
At the top of the current Junk Email Options screen there are a number of different tabs, click on the ‘Blocked Senders’ tab. You will be presented with a similar screen to the Safe Senders. Click the add button on the right hand side and can enter the exact email address, or even the domain which the email came from for example @test.com.au and this will be permanently move any emails from these senders to junk mail. Please note, I would NOT suggest adding hotmail, yahoo or any other large providers emails within your country or global emails to your blocked list, as this may filter legitimate emails.
Once you have completed this step, click ok for the Junk email screen and then click ok for the Options screen and we are done!
Log into your hotmail account. Click the ‘go to inbox’ screen.
Click the options button located on the top right hand side of the hotmail window and from the drop down button click 'More Options'.
You will be taken to the options screen. In the second column of options at the top click on ‘Filters and reporting’.
We firstly have to choose a junk email filter. Currently on my hotmail account I have an Exclusive filter. This means that everything else apart from my contacts will be placed into my Junk Mailbox. I would not suggest this unless if you are happy and willing to check your Junk mail daily.
So therefore, make sure you have the standard junk email filtering option selected. This means that a majority of the spam will be filtered out effectively. I would suggest that you do check your junk email box at least once a week, as some can slip through the cracks, and if this does happen, open the e-mail you wish to read/keep and click ‘Not a junk email’ to make the contact a safe sender.
The next section is report junk messages. Make sure the ‘Report junk’ option is selected.
Finally, so you don’t lose any important attachments from friends or family who hotmail identifies as spam, check the ‘Show attachments’ box in the block content from unknown senders section.
Once we are done here, click save.
You will be taken back to the options screen. Select the ‘Safe and blocked senders’ option under Preventing junk email.
You are presented with three different sections to choose from. Click on ‘Safe Senders’. This area will allow you to add new safe email addresses AND domains (for example yourlifechoices.com.au).
To add a new safe sender, type the email or domain address into the section provided and click ‘Add to list’. To remove an address from the list, click on the address. This will highlight the address. Now click the ‘Remove from list’ button
Now it is time to go back to the Safe and blocked senders options screen. Hotmail is not too user friendly, but there is a simple way for us to get back. Look at the top of your screen above where on the white background in green it says Safe Senders, there will be the words ‘Safe and blocked senders’, click these words.
Now click on the ‘Blocked Senders option’, which is the third option down.
You will now be taken to the current Blocked Senders list. Have a quick read through the email addresses previous blocked in the menu on the right hand side and remove anyone you “think” you may know.
Once you have done this, if there are any email addresses or domains that are constantly barraging you with spam emails, type in the address to the box on the left hand side. Click the ‘Add to list’ button and it will load it into the box.
Out of all the popular email services, Yahoo has the least number of options for blocking junk email. I have provided below an example of adding a contact to your safe senders list.
Log into your Yahoo account. Find an email from the person you want to add to your safe senders list. Right click on the email from the menu. A drop down box of options will now appear. Click on the ‘Add Sender to Contacts’ option. Edit any information if needed that appears and then click ‘Save’. You will now be presented with a confirmation that the person has been added. Click the ‘Ok’ button and you are done.
Start by logging into your Gmail account. Find an email of a person you wish to continue receiving emails from. Click the checkbox next to the email from the sender and in the menu above your emails, click on the ‘More’ box. From the dropdown that appears, click on the ‘Filter messages like these’ option.
You will now be presented with the “Create a Filter” option. In my example, I am looking to add the YOURLifeChoices newsletter to my safe sender list. As I selected the newsletter, it has already added firstname.lastname@example.org to the “from” box. This is all we need to make the email from YOURLifeChoices stay in the Inbox, so we will click the ‘Create a filter with this search’ option in the bottom right hand side of the box.
The next screen will give nine options. The one we are looking for is the bottom option called “Never send it to Spam”. Left click in the check box. Now left click “create filter”. We are done!
Junk Mail Filtering
Log into your Gmail account. Left click inside the check box next to an email from someone you no longer want to receive emails. Now, in the menu above your emails, click on the ‘More’ box. From the dropdown that appears, click on the ‘Filter messages like these’ option.
You will now be presented with the “Create a Filter” option. There are a number of different ways of creating filters to prevent spam. For example, as you have selected a spam email, you will see the email address is already in place. All you need to do is click on the ‘Create a filter with this search’ button at the bottom right and from the next window select the ‘Delete it’ option.
The most handy thing you can do is to remove the email address in the Create a Filter option area and to enter common spam terms. For example, in my first attempt at blocking common spam terms, I used the word fedex and placed it in the ‘Has the words’ box. I then clicked ‘Create filter with the search’ and finally from the next page selected ‘Delete It’ as the option. This is because I have and most likely will never send a package by fedex and this is a common scam I have received. The same can be done for banks and other spam words such as Viagra.
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