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Surely you have gotten at least some Spam in the past; some users get more Spam then others, some do not receive hardly any at all. You are probably reading this article thinking "When are they going to tell me how to get rid of Spam completely!?" The unfortunate thing is there really is not an easy, cure-all method for stopping the Spam. However, we can give you a few tips and hints on how to reduce it and perhaps even stop Spam from reaching your email box.

The first and most important tip on stopping Spam; the one point, as technicians we cannot stress enough, is to not give out your email address to anyone you do not specifically know and trust. By know and trust we mean do not give your email address out to any site on the Internet or to any person or company. Give your email out to friends, family, etc but only to those who will guard your email address, as you would guard it. Sure, it sounds drastic and perhaps even a bit selfish, but from the rate of Spam coming into our servers and the ease of picking up a virus from an email, it is critical that you guard against who gets your email address. Think of your email address as your own home address. You would not give your home address to any stranger on the street, nor would you display your home address on television or other mass media without a good reason for doing so. Just as easily as someone with a crowbar and the knowledge of your home address can break into your house, a person with your email address can also do a variety of bad things such as send you unwarranted Spam & viruses.  We do not mean to scare you with this article; we simply mean to strike home the point of the importance of guarding your email address.

At this point, you are probably saying "Okay Mr. Technician, if I can't give my email address out to websites that need it for some reason or another, what am I supposed to do?” This is easy. Find a website that offers free email addresses such as Hotmail (www.hotmail.com), sign up for an email address through them, and then give that email address out to any website, business, or whomever that you are not sure about in regards to Spam, etc. Once your “junk” email address has been setup, check that email address every now and then so that the email address stays active. This way any mailing list and Spammer will most likely get hold of your free email address, leaving your PON address clear of Spam.

This is only one method of keeping Spam out of your email though, and it will not help if your PON address is already on mailing lists, but it will help for future mailing lists that may get hold of your address. For those of you that already have your email address on a mailing list (or a bunch of mailing lists if you get a lot of Spam) we recommend two preventative measures. First, set up a filter in your email program and second, be sure to send Pacific Online a copy of the Spam (abuse@pon.net) you receive so we can add the sender to our Spam filter, which is described in more below.

The second and more common method of reducing Spam is to setup what is called a "filter" either in your email program or physically on your email box located on our server. This method, quite honestly, is somewhat cumbersome and can be time-consuming if you get a lot of Spam, but can work extremely well. First, we will describe setting up a basic filter using two separate methods in one of the most common email programs our customer’s use, which is Outlook Express.

We will not have Netscape instructions in this documentation as there are too many versions of Netscape that support filtering and most of them seem to do it slightly differently then the other. If you are using Netscape you can skip ahead and try the WebMail filter setup, which works with any browser / email configuration. Please note that the Outlook Express instructions will *not* work with accounts setup as IMAP (which forces Outlook Express to leave your mail on the server and to keep multiple mail accounts separated). If you are unsure if your account is using IMAP or POP3 you are most likely using POP3 and don't need to worry about it. An easy way to determine if you are setup as IMAP would be to look in Outlook Express under the "Folders" list; if you see at least two different "Inbox" folders (at least one under "Local Folders", another somewhere else) then you have at least one email account setup as IMAP therefore the filter(s) you setup will only work for the account setup as POP3.

First, go into Outlook Express and look at some of the Spam you are getting. If any of it seems to be coming from a particular source make a note of the sender. Also, look and see if you seem to receive any emails with the same or similar subject line and make a note of that too. Basically, look through the Spam you have in your email box and try and determine if all of your Spam has something in common. If you cannot find anything similar, record from the first couple Spams the following information: the senders name, email address (if you can find it), and the subject line of the email. Once you have a list of sender, email address, and subject, go to your "Tools" menu, then go to "Message Rules" then select "Mail". On the "New Mail Rule" window, under the first box select the first rule you want to use. If you want to block mail coming from a particular sender then click the checkbox labeled "Where the From line contains people". Now in the 3rd box you will notice something new comes up, labeled "Where the From line contains people" with the "contains people" underlined. Click on "contains people" and another box will pop up labeled "Select People". Now in the first box in that window type in an email address that you want to filter, then click Add. To add another From line just add it into the box and click add. When you are done adding From addresses, click on OK and you will come back to the Filter screen. Now in the second box, click on the action you would like Outlook Express to perform when it receives emails from the people you defined on the list. If you want it to simply delete the message, click on the "Delete it" checkbox. Once you are done in this window, click OK and that should setup the mail filter.

Please keep in mind that this is *not* a sure-fire way of permanently preventing emails from being mailed to you. This is also not something you setup once and can forget about. You will find that even if you blocked the Spam you really wanted to block, you may get more from other sources so you will have to update your list on a regular basis.

One last method you have at your disposal in the quest to eliminate Spam would be to forward all the Spam you receive to our abuse@pon.net email which gets added to our server-side filtering setup. This email box is checked regularly, but please be aware that due to the volume of emails sent to that box your request will not be replied to individually by a technician.

On a final note, please be aware that all the work we do and all the work you may end up doing on setting up a filter will only do so much. You may still end up receiving Spam despite all that you or we have done to stop it. It is simply the nature of the beast - the Internet is a huge place and would be nearly impossible to police. There are ways of even getting around some of the best filtering methods around, but fortunately these methods are hard to do for most of the common Spammer's. For the most part your filters and our filters should keep a majority of the unwanted email out of your system and out of our servers.

~ Pacific Online Technical Support Team

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Last Updated:
03/06/17 11:11 PM

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