Here is a really useful real world example of how you can potentially employ Outlook Express message rules to stop and prevent spam from reaching your INBOX to a reasonable level. But before we dig deeper, let me give you a brief on spam because only when you understand it will you be able to prevent and stop it. If you are interested in knowing more about spam, I suggest you read What is spam?
Spam is unwanted or unsolicited email – messages that you never asked for. I believe that spam is sent by losers and low-lives who have nothing better to do but con you into buying their products/services. Spam can also take the form of phishing attacks – fraud emails.
As you can understand, my feelings for spam are strongly negative because of their unscrupulous nature. Some of these email messages are downright degrading and very embarrassing – yes, those containing products/services enhancing the libido or the genitalia. Though not all spam can be caught by the message rules, a lot of it can and I speak this from personal experience.
So how can we automatically screen for spam? One of the nest ways is to “catch” certain words in the email subject and body (message content).
Create a new message rule and select “Where the Subject line contains specific words” and “Where the message body contains specific words” as conditions and “Delete it from server” as the action. Then click on the blue links in the Rule Description box to bring up the “Type Specific Words” dialog box and enter the offending words. Please refer the two images below.
In the above example, I have put in words like Viagra, botox, mortgage etc. and yes, don’t forget those four letter words that are so common in spam. You need to enter these specific words for both the email subject and the email message contents. And once your are done, you can give a name to the new rule and click on the OK button.
Another Outlook Express rule I use to ward off spam is to capture the email size and if its too large, retain it on the server to be checked manually through webmail.
Select “Where the message size is more than size” and “Where the message has an attachment” as conditions and “Do not Download it from the server” as the action. Now specify the size by clicking on its blue link in the Rule description which brings up the Set Size dialog box. I use 10MB which is 10,000 KB. You can set your own limits.
You’ll also notice that the word “and” is also a link. Clicking on it opens the And/Or box. Here you can instruct whether both the conditions defined should be applicable for the messages or only one would suffice. I would suggest you select “Messages match all of the criteria” else any email with any attachments will be held up on the server.
Since large emails with attachments have not been downloaded from the server, you can check them using webmail to determine if they are indeed spam or harmless emails by colleagues and friends who’ve sent dozens of their holiday pictures.
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