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Tip of the Day
Language: Microsoft Exchange
Expertise: Beginner
Oct 11, 1999

Filtering Junk E-mail from My In-box

Question:
Could you please explain how to trap the e-mail ID from the In-box, so that I can filter my incoming junk mails?

Answer:
Filtering junk mail is tricky business because the senders of junk mail are so tricky. There are several techniques to doing it with varying degrees of difficulty, but fortunately Outlook 2000 makes it somewhat easier.

First you have the Junk Mail Filter. To turn that on go to the Inbox and click the Organize button. Click Junk E-mail along the left side of the screen and you'll see some options for Junk and Adult Content mail.

The default is just to change the color, but I prefer to delete them so I drop down the list box and change "Color" to "Move" and then set the folder to Deleted Items.

Click the "Turn On" button and you're in business. From then on whenever you receive a junk e-mail message you can add it to the Junk Senders list by clicking Actions > Junk E-Mail > Add to Junk Senders list. Any future messages you receive from that address will be automatically moved to the Deleted Items folder.

Later, if you want to manually add or remove a specific address from your Junk Senders list you just go back to Inbox > Organize > Junk Senders and click the link at the bottom. You'll get options to edit the Junk Senders or Adult Content Senders lists or download filter updates from the Outlook Web site.

That's just one step, though. I also like to use the Rules Wizard to help keep ahead of the spammers. First thing I do is create a folder called "Junk" that I'm going to move suspected junk mail into.

Next I create a rule (Tools > Rules Wizard) that checks for certain words or phrases in the body of the message. To this I add, as I go, common phrases or words that spammers include. I found that I was constantly getting spam from some investment thing that wanted to recommend stocks to me. They provided no way to get off their list and I didn't want to bother tracking them down just to have them ignore me, so I added their company name to my rule—any messages I get from them are automoved into my Junk folder for processing. Other common spam phrases go into this rule as well and I can add (or delete) as I go.

Then I create a rule that checks for certain words in the subject of the message. "Free" is a word that will get your message automoved to my junk folder, for example.

Finally I create a rule that checks for certain addresses in the TO field. "friend@public.com" is guaranteed to get junked, for example.

Keep in mind that with any of these rules you can adjust your criteria by adding or removing new phrases, words, or addresses as needed. You don't need to create a separate rule for each phrase to check for—just have a JunkBody rule, a JunkSubject rule, and a JunkTo rule and then modify each.

Once every few days I browse my Junk folder to make sure that no actual important messages accidentally got moved there. That happens pretty rarely, however, so usually I just bulk-delete the messages that are there.

By spending a week or two adjusting these rules, as well as adding any junk mail that remains in my Inbox to my Junk Senders list, I find that I get no more than two or three junk messages each day in my Inbox. Considering how high-profile my e-mail address is, that's pretty good.

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