Con­trol spam in Mi­crosoft Out­look

Spam lives on, but Out­look has some features to help slow it down. J.D. SARTAIN’s tips will help you take con­trol

Tech Advisor - - Contents -

Use Block Sen­der fre­quently

Use Out­look’s Block Sen­der fea­ture to add in­tru­sive spam to your Block Sen­der List, and then move it to the Junk Email folder. This works fine if you re­ceive fewer than a dozen emails a day.

Set up a Blocked Sen­der list

If you get a lot of spam from a sin­gle ISP or coun­try, or from a phish­ing group im­per­son­at­ing a le­git­i­mate or­ga­ni­za­tion, such as Ya­hoo6.com, epay­pal.com, or an email from Wells­fargo with an EarthLink ad­dress (hbird80@earthlink.net), you can add these bad ac­tors to your Block Sen­der list by com­pany, group, coun­try, ISP, or other cri­te­ria. Se­lect Home > Junk > Junk Email Options and click the Blocked Sen­ders tab. Click the Add but­ton and en­ter a coun­try code, a group do­main, or a even a fake com­pany (epay­pal.com).

As the ex­am­ples listed in this di­a­log box show, you don’t need wild­card to block all email from a group

or com­pany. Just en­ter the group name pre­ceded by the @ sign, or the name alone. Click OK > Ap­ply > OK. Task com­plete.

If you try these tech­niques, and you’re still get­ting spam from some of the com­pa­nies or in­di­vid­u­als you pre­ciously blocked, then us­ing wild cards may be the so­lu­tion. This tech­nique ad­dresses the chal­lenge that hack­ers are al­ways in­vent­ing new email ad­dresses for spam­ming you. In­stead of en­ter­ing in­di­vid­ual spam email ad­dresses into your Blocked Sen­der List, just en­ter this one ‘all-in­clu­sive’ email ad­dress: *@*.com into the Blocked Sen­der’s List. Fol­low the in­struc­tions in the first three para­graphs of sec­tion 2 above, and your spam prob­lem should be solved – or will be, that is, un­til the hack­ers write an­other pro­gram to get around this so­lu­tion.

Cre­ate Rules for sort­ing, mov­ing and more

Out­look has a fea­ture called ‘Cre­ate Rule’ that of­fers cus­tom email man­age­ment based on con­di­tions that you de­fine in its vir­tual rule book. Like macros, these

rules au­to­mate repet­i­tive tasks that you per­form daily, such as telling Out­look which emails to dis­play in spe­cific win­dows, move emails to other fold­ers, and/ or cre­ate alerts with cus­tom sounds.

Se­lect the email you want moved to an­other folder. Se­lect Home > Rules > Cre­ate Rule. In the di­a­log box, Out­look asks: ‘When I get email with the se­lected con­di­tions (From, Sub­ject, Sent To) do the fol­low­ing: Dis­play in New Item Alert Win­dow, Play Se­lected Sound, or Move Item to Folder’. Out­look as­sumes you want to check all three of the top boxes, but feel free to uncheck those that do not ap­ply. In the bot­tom pane, check the boxes that per­form the ac­tions you re­quire, then click OK.

In the fol­low­ing ex­am­ple (see graphic be­low): In Sam­ple 1, this rule says flag all emails From: Com­cast, with the Sub­ject: ‘Your bill is ready’, Sent To: xxx@ chacha.com, then do the fol­low­ing: Play

Sound: Win­dows RingIn.wav, and then Move to Folder: Bills Due. For Play Sound, click Browse, nav­i­gate to the Win­dows/Me­dia folder, then choose a sound from the list. For Move to Folder, click the Se­lect Folder but­ton, and choose one from your hard drive’s folder list.

In Sam­ple 2, all spam emails with Sub­ject: Jace and Sent To: xxx@chacha.com are flagged and sent to the Junk Email folder. The sub­ject line here has too many words for a good match, so this field box was unchecked.

Rules Wizard (ad­vanced options)

You can cre­ate rules that block spam – or set up a num­ber of other handy tasks – based on spe­cific cri­te­ria that you set.

For this ex­am­ple: UserKC re­ceives a lot of spam emails with at­tach­ments in her In­box that are not ad­dressed to her email ad­dress. In this case, the email was sent to some­body named mikeal.vic­tor98@gmail.com, but she re­ceived it in­stead. This is a com­mon phish­ing scam that’s

es­ca­lated over time, so she de­cided to cre­ate a rule to au­to­mate a process that kills these spam at­tacks.

Se­lect Home > Rules > Cre­ate Rule. In the Cre­ate Rule di­a­log box, click the Ad­vanced Options but­ton.

In the Rules Wizard di­a­log box, Out­look asks: ‘Which con­di­tion(s) do you want to check? Step1: Se­lect Con­di­tion(s)’. Scroll through the list and choose the con­di­tions that ap­ply to your unique sit­u­a­tion. In this ex­am­ple, UserKC se­lected where my name is not in the To box and which has an at­tach­ment. Out­look en­ters the con­di­tions in the Step2 box. Click Next.

In the se­cond Rules Wizard di­a­log, Out­look asks:’ What do you want to do with the mes­sage?’ Step1: Se­lect Ac­tion(s). UserKC checked move it to the spec­i­fied folder.

No­tice the un­der­lined text here and in the Step 2 box: That means, ‘click this link to com­plete this ac­tion’. Click once, choose the ‘spec­i­fied’ folder (Junk Email), then click OK. Out­look adds this ac­tion to your rule, then re-dis­plays

the ad­di­tional rule in a new Step 2 box. Click Next.

In the third Rules Wizard di­a­log, Out­look asks: ‘Are there any ex­cep­tions?’ Step 1: Se­lect Ex­cep­tions. UserKC de­cided to add a safety ex­cep­tion: If the sen­der name/email ad­dress matches a record in my cur­rent ad­dress book, then do noth­ing. Check the ex­cep­tion box, click the un­der­lined ‘spec­i­fied’ Ad­dress Book, se­lect the ap­pli­ca­ble con­tact list, then click Add.

No­tice the new Step 2 box con­tains all the rules you just cre­ated. If ac­cept­able, click Fin­ish. The Fin­ish Rules Setup Wizard di­a­log opens and re­quests that you spec­ify a name for this rule (or col­lec­tion of rules, ac­tu­ally). En­ter a de­scrip­tive name, check the ‘Turn On this Rule’ box, and click OK. Now, all those mis­di­rected phish­ing and spam emails will go di­rectly to your junk file folder.

Check spam fold­ers of­ten

Spam, phish­ing and block­ing fil­ters, and the rules that gov­ern them, come in mul­ti­ple lev­els. In ad­di­tion

to the fil­ters and rules you cre­ate on your own com­puter, your email soft­ware, an­tivirus pro­gram, In­ter­net provider, net­work ad­min­is­tra­tor, in­di­vid­ual su­per­vi­sor, and pos­si­bly oth­ers all have var­i­ous sys­tems for pro­tect­ing users from harm­ful and/or un­so­licited com­mu­ni­ca­tions. The of­ten ag­gres­sive tech­niques these sys­tems use to fil­ter out the garbage means some le­git­i­mate emails may not get through.

Check your spam fold­ers of­ten at ev­ery level, es­pe­cially if you’re ex­pect­ing a com­mu­ni­ca­tion that never shows up. It’s gen­er­ally easy to ac­cess your spam fold­ers at the ISP level, be­cause most providers of­fer an email pro­gram with the ser­vice, which in­cludes a spam folder. In­di­vid­ual com­pany poli­cies may not be as flex­i­ble or con­ve­nient. Talk to your net­work ad­min­is­tra­tor if you’re miss­ing emails to de­ter­mine whether the con­tents of the spam fold­ers are ac­ces­si­ble and avail­able to re­view. If not, ask your friends, colleagues, and as­so­ciates to mon­i­tor their com­mu­ni­ca­tions and call you if you don’t re­spond in a timely man­ner. Or, if your com­pany poli­cies al­low it, con­sider pro­vid­ing a se­cond, back up email ad­dress to catch those drifters that wan­der into cor­po­rate traps.

Use Block Sen­der fre­quently to au­to­mat­i­cally add the sen­ders to Junk Email folderSe­lect the spam email, right-click, choose Junk from the drop menu, and click Block Sen­der. Or, Se­lect Home > Junk > Block Sen­der. Out­look marks it and re­lo­cates it im­me­di­ately.

Use the Block Sen­der list to block groups, coun­tries, and fake com­pa­nies

Use Cre­ate Rule for cus­tom email man­age­ment based on con­di­tions that you de­fine

Cre­ate rules that block spam, in ad­di­tion to a num­ber of other handy tasks, based on spe­cific cri­te­ria that you set

Un­der­lined text means click this link to com­plete this ac­tion

En­ter ex­cep­tions and name the rule

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