Organising Spam Email in Outlook 365

One of the biggest downsides of having a long term and successful email address on the internet, is that it will be found by spammers. You can hide your email account and customers will never find you, or you can promote yourself out there and expect the spammers to find you.

In fact, you only need to be ‘discovered’ by one of mass email organisations and it is likely they will do the most damage of selling your address on to others.

Can Spam Act

There is a law in America known as the Can-Spam Act, which sets out the ways people can use your email address, how your consent should have been granted and how you should always be given the opportunity to opt out. However, so many spam sources pay little heed to such rules. In fact, many will use your request to be removed from a list as confirmation that they have discovered a valid email address, and will send more!

Setting your own spam rules

There are no perfect automated systems to controlling spam. However, if your anti-virus tool offers email protection, then take the offer.  The easiest way is to identify spam to outlook 365 yourself as they arrive.

The options available to you

When you have an email you wish to process, you can right click for a range of options. You will then see the options available under the junk item.

 

Safe Senders

This is a list of people who you always want to receive their email. These sources should never be seen as spam. You can add the individual email address to this list by using the “Never Block Sender” option.  You can add the whole domain name of the sender with the “Never Block Sender’s Domain” option. Both of these options add the information to the “Safe Senders” list.

Block Sender

You can add the email address to the “Block Sender” list. The email should then be moved immediately to the spam folder. All further emails from that address will also go to the spam folder. If you want to block the whole domain name, because spammers will often use the sane domain, but different email addresses, you will have to add to the list yourself.

International

You can take the step of blocking entire domain groups. You could stop all emails ending with any specific domain suffix. “.in” and “.ru” are the most popular. But this is a very blunt tool and I would be careful before using it.

Ideal Options

I suggest using the settings shown above. The high level will catch some legitimate mail tool, but if you add valid contacts to the ‘safe senders’ list then they will not be caught. Safe always trumps any junk filter. if you have just signed up to some service, or expect a confirmation email. Always have a quick check in your spam folder.

Select the disabled links in phishing messages. You can open yourself to all sorts of bad experiences if you fall for a phishing attack. Therefore it is useful for Outlook to make those links harder to hit by mistake.

The warn me option is not that effective for me. Still, it is better to have it working as you never know what clever updates Outlook may supply to catch emails in the future.

In the ‘Safe senders’ tab, you can select to trust any email address stored in your my contacts. This saves adding every contact to the list.

How to edit the spam lists

Typical of Microsoft, the lists created for safe senders etc, are just simple text lists. You can edit the contents using simple add.. Edit.. and Remove options.  Moving between systems you can use the import and export feature which produces a simple text file. Note that to add a domain you simply add “@domain.com” instead of when adding a single email “[email protected]