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Q: Is there any way I can block junk mail from coming in. It does go directly into “junk mail” but I heard there was a way to block it coming in at all. Since changing from dial up to broadband recently when I got the occasional few, I now get 60 – 70 a day. I would be grateful for your advice please, I always read your column, and have had some good tips.
A: There are several ways that you can achieve this but you will never be able to block all spam. The best method is to contact your ISP to find out if they have implemented a spam filter. If they have then you activate it and set a spam rating level that will delete mail on the server if the e-mail exceeds a certain score. Your ISP should have a guideline as to what the scores are. My suggestion is that you start conservatively using a higher number and lower it if too much junk mail arrives, however these filters are only partially effective. However by using this method you will reduce the time wasted in downloading junk mail and then having to delete it.
The rating that is given to an e-mail is made up of many parameters. If the origin is a know spam source this will immediately receive many points, having certain words in the subject such as Viagra or pen1s will add more points even if spelled correctly, having URLs and words such as unsubscribe adds to the score as having this in mail from friends is unlikely. Many other factors are considered in arriving at the final score. At a certain point the message is rated as probable spam and at a higher level it is marked for deletion at the server. In one of my accounts, I had over 5,000 messages that totalled over 10 GB deleted on the server without ever having to download them.
If this service is not available then you can log onto your ISP using a browser to read your mail and manually delete the junk mail but this is only worthwhile if you receive large junk e-mails.
You can also consider using a good program that will preview your mail on the server and automatically mark the spam making bulk deleting very quick and easy. It will enable you to add your own black lists, which will delete all if it comes from a known address or a white list to always receive mail from some commercial organisation. In my opinion the best program of this type is Mailwasher and it can be downloaded from: www.mailwasher.net