What is spam?
By definition, spam is unwanted email.
When you enter your email address on a website, most sites will just use your email address to send you agreed upon communications. However, some are malicious and sell your address to advertisers or to hackers who are looking to take over computers. Nearly all spam is just unwanted advertisements (“Make millions working at home” or “Pharmaceuticals for next to nothing”). No matter the intent all spam clogs up your inbox making it hard to find your important emails.
How can I avoid spam?
To lower the amount of spam you receive, be diligent about your information and who you share it with. Before you share your information, consider asking yourself, “Do I really need to do this?” Normally offers of a free lunch or such are to get your information and put you on a mailing list.
For more DOs and DON'Ts on spam, see What can I do to stop getting spam and phishing email?
There is spam in my inbox. What are my options to get rid of it?
To help prevent others from getting the same spam, report it to ITS Information Security using spam or scam. For steps on how to do this, see How do I report spam to ITS using the spamorscam email address?
The time consuming but accurate method to remove spam is to go through your inbox one email at a time and delete anything you don’t recognize or anything from someone you don’t know. You can also right-click on the message and block the sender to ensure they don't send you more spam from that address again. However, if you receive 150+ spam a day this is not the best option for you.
If you find you are getting lots of spam from the same address or with the exact same subject line, you can send email that match that address or subject straight to your junk box.
To filter spam based on subject- Outlook
- Open Outlook and go to your Inbox.
- Highlight an email that is spam, and right-click on it.
- Select Rules > Create Rule.
- Say the options you are choosing out loud, it will help you ensure they are correct for you.
- Ensure Subject contains is checked.
- Ensure Move the item to folder is checked.
- Select the folder to send the spam to – usually this is your Junk E-mail folder, but it can be any folder you like.
- Verify your selections, and select OK to create the rule.
Note: Alternately you can match just part of the address or subject, say one word. Use the above steps, but only match one or two words in the subject. This will match variations on this subject with just the one rule.
Note: You can also use the advanced option on this window to match single words in the subject or body of the email. For example if you are getting cheap meds spam, you could match just the word meds in subject or email body.
Warning! only choose words you and your friends don’t use as ANY email with these words will be sent to the junk folder.
Is there a way I can just not get the spam?
Algonquin College has a spam scanning server running a program called Can-it.
Go to the Simplified Interface on the top menu. It only has 6 options instead of overwhelming you as the expert interface does. Those options are:
- Opt out of spam-scanning completely - Do nothing. All email will come to you.
- Only tag spam - Any email that is spam will have an added tag. This lets you look at it if you like before deleting it to ensure you don’t loose any important communications. or you can choose to use a rule to auto-delete tagged emails.
- Leave decision to IT staff - IT staff will decide the best spam filtering to use for you.
- Delete mail scoring more then 8 points - Each part of an email that appears to be spam raises its score. For example lots of references to pills and cheap meds will each add to the score. Very high scores are definitely spam. Not so high scores may be spam but may not. 8 points is very low, so this would delete anything that may be spam.
The last 2 options only apply if you have a mailing list: Mail send to Listserv not scan and Mail send to listserv scanned.
For more advanced options available in Can-it, see How do I use the Can-it anti-spam server?
For additional help dealing with spam, contact ITS - How to contact ITS.