How to use e-mail filters to fight Spam!

Question

Is there any way to filter my e-mail so I don't have to get messages that have certain words like Viagra and porn? Blocking e-mail addresses doesn't seem to work!

-Gerry

Answer

This question was answered on April 1, 2002. Much of the information contained herein may have changed since posting.

The 'marketing' opportunity that unsolicited e-mail (Spam) offers is just too enticing for unscrupulous marketers to ignore With every new blocking or filtering system, they attempt to find a way around it.

In the early days, telling your e-mail program not to allow any future messages from a specific address worked pretty well, because the Spammers were unsophisticated and used the same return address repeatedly.

Today, most Spammers use a different return address every time they send soblocking based on return address is rendered ineffective.

Depending upon which ISP (Internet Service Provider) and e-mail program you use, there are a number of effective actions you can take to foil these parasites of the Internet.

If you are an AOL subscriber, unfortunately, your tools are very limited AOL offers what they call 'Mail Controls' but they are nothing more than a basic method for filtering based on an e-mail address, which are not very effective Your options are to either block everything except addresses that you specifically list or manually create a list of addresses that you wish to block as the messages come in.

The 'block everything except' method is great for kids, because you can limit the 'authorized' senders to friends and family that have been approved and added by mom and dad For adults, this method is generally too restrictive because it requires an 'off-line' method of initial contact which means that anyone that tries to initiate contact with you via e-mail will not get through.

If you have a standard e-mail account that allows you to use programs such as Outlook, Outlook Express or Eudora, your tool set is much more substantial.

Most e-mail programs allow you to filter based on a number of criteria One of the more effective filters that you can use is based on specific words in the subject line.

Both Outlook and Outlook Express from Microsoft have 'message rules' that can be accessed through the 'Tools' menu Depending upon which version you use, look for options such as 'Rules Wizard' or 'Message Rules' to begin the process.

Because of the dozens of junk messages that I get every day, I have created a rule that looks for words such as credit, viagra, porn, win, sex, refinance, mortgage, APR, etc in the ?Subject? line that deletes the message as soon as it hits my Inbox (Wouldn't it be great if we could

filter our 'Snail-mail' the same way!)

You can create similar rules based on specific words in the body of the message as well as the recipients? or senders? address (which is much more effective than blocking specific addresses).

If you want step-by-step instructions for creating message rules in any version of Outlook or Outlook Express, click on the Help menu and search for 'message rules'.

In Eudora, they are called 'filters' and can be access by clicking on Tools, then on Filters or you can get instructions by using the Help menu to search for 'filters'.

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Author

Posted by Ken of Data Doctors on April 1, 2002