Why Doesn’t Blocking Email Senders Work?

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How can I block addresses that come repeatedly to my junk email box? It says I am blocking email but it does not work.

Blocking email by the “From:” address is seriously overrated; it’s effectively useless.

It promises to prevent email from a specific sender from reaching you, but if the sender determined, the block is easily bypassed. And spammers are determined … boy, are they determined! Blocking senders is useless in the war against spam.

I’ll explain why, and what I do instead.

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Blocking email versus the spam folder

You said the email is coming “repeatedly to my junk email box”. That may be exactly what “blocking email” means to your email program: “When email from this sender arrives, put it in the junk folder.”

That’s one definition of what it means to block email.

If that’s the way your email program works, it’s working exactly as it should.

Misleading email addresses

Stop!Spammers work hard to mislead you. One technique makes emails appears as if they’re from someone that they’re not.

Email addresses have two parts: the email address itself, and an optional “display name”. For example, you might see:

From: Leo A. Notenboom <leo@somerandomservice.com>

The display name is “Leo A. Notenboom” and the email address is leo@somerandomservice.com.

The display name is optional. If it’s present, many email programs will display it rather than the actual email address. Your email program might show something like:

From: Leo A. Notenboom

Spammers use this to mislead you. For example:

From: nancy@reallybigbookstore.com <leo@somerandomservice.com>

Here the display name is “nancy@reallybigbookstore.com”, but the email address is “leo@somerandomservice.com”. So, in some email programs, you would see this:

From: nancy@reallybigbookstore.com

It looks like email from nancy@reallybigbookstore.com, but it’s not — it’s really from leo@somerandomservice.com.

You can block “nancy@reallybigbookstore.com” if you like, but it won’t block this particular email because that’s not where it came from.

Ever-changing email addresses

There’s another technique spammers use that renders individual address blocking completely ineffective.

They don’t send email from the same address more than once.

You might get the exact same spam over and over, but each time it’ll be from a different email address. You can block that address if you like, but that won’t stop the next email they send, or the one after that, or the one after that … because they all come from different email addresses.

Combined with the tricks spammers use to mislead you about what email address is really being used, things get very confusing very fast.

The short answer is that using sender blocking to stop spam is a waste of time and effort.

Don’t bother.

Instead…

Mark it as spam or junk (depending on the term your email program uses).

Most email programs and services allow you to mark email messages as spam. Do that instead.

Not only will it move the message from your inbox to the junk folder, it also allows the service to learn what is and isn’t spam. While the spam may not get blocked immediately, as you report more and more spam over time, more of it will get blocked: the software will send it to your spam folder instead of your inbox.

Google’s spam filter (as used in Gmail) seems to be particularly effective these days.

If that doesn’t work, I suggest you relax and use your Delete key. It’s simple, quick, and 100% accurate.

Showing up in the spam folder is the right thing

Email arriving in your spam folder is exactly what should happen if that email is spam. Yes, there might be a lot (I get hundreds a day), but that’s the system working exactly as it should.

Trying to prevent the email from reaching you at all — meaning that it never shows up in your email account’s inbox, spam folder, or any other folder ever — is pointless. Spam exists, and currently there’s no way to stop it.1

The best you and your email service can do is deal with it after it arrives.

For your email service, that means analyzing and sending spam to your spam folder. For you, that means marking spam as spam when it shows up in your inbox, and occasionally marking legitimate email that shows up in your spam folder as “not spam”.

Is blocking good for anything?

Yes.

Blocking email is good for anything that isn’t spam.

For example, if there’s a specific individual you want to block, you can block their email address.

But as I mentioned earlier, even then, blocking will be ineffective if they are sufficiently motivated to get through. All they need to do is get a new email address to send from, and those are trivially easy to get.

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Footnotes & references

1: So called “Challenge/response” services are not a viable option, in my opinion.

98 comments on “Why Doesn’t Blocking Email Senders Work?”

  1. One approach which takes time, but seems to work is to identify the isp from the headers and complain to them. Several tiresome spam mails sent many times have stopped after I reported their activity to the ISP. Only works with reputable ISPs

  2. hi , i agree that the block option is not perfect but in hotmail it works for me mostly. I just delete the junkmail folder all at one time. also the sweep option helps a bit

    • My problem with autodeleting the spam folder is that every time I check mine, there’s something in there that shouldn’t be. Thunderbird seems to be particularly bad at learning from what I mark and what I unmark, what I consider spam. So, I’m stuck with actually looking in there and manually deleting every couple of days (or when someone says they sent something and it doesn’t show up in my main box).

      • Unfortunately, even with the best spam filters, it’s necessary to look at the emails before deleting them. You probably don’t want to lose that one in a thousand legitimate false positive. For example, if you really did have a rich long lost relative who happens to be a Nigerian prince die and leave you millions 🙂 .

        • Many do empty spam older than a certain amount of time. (Gmails is 30 days for example). 10 minutes isn’t nearly enough time to allow you to check for false positives periodically.

  3. Check whether the JUNK Directory can be set to Delete IMMEDIATELY or after a given period such as 7 Days with my ISP.

    I have mine set to the “7 Days” Option; but I do go in about three times per day, do a quick check occasionally to see if there are any genuine messages – then Delete them en-bloc, ie a single instruction gets rid of 500 messages etc.

  4. I wish there was a way to destroy the computer that the email was sent from. I hate those Sex spams.

    But knowing that you can’t do that just keep deleting them. That works every time.

    • Truth! Been dealing with that crap for a decade and it’s ridiculous!
      Most of those messages come from fake addresses and with all the advanced technology we have I just don’t understand how no one has come up with a way to completely block spam from fake email addresses.
      People build robots that can operate on a friggin grape but nobody can figure out how to really block spam from reaching any of our folders. It’s crazy!

      • Actually there are solutions, but the problem is that the entire email infrastructure would have to change, pretty much simultaneously, for it to have any impact. Chances of that are very, very slim.

  5. In Hotmail, email blocking does NOT work! It seemed to for a while, but recently emails I have specifically blocked come right through. Contrary to your article, they have not been change to cleverly get through, but are exactly the same. Is this feature defective?? What do I do? Thanks..

  6. HOTMAIL.COM
    The problem with the coming back mails in the junk that you already ”sweeped” and ”blocked” is the following :
    you can sweep and you can block mails that you can direct to your Delete mails, or even not to come back ever, is that Hotmail have a capacity of only ‘500’ mail to block under Options/Safe and blocked senders !
    Anything more shows you during sweeping that it is blocked but in fact it is not !!!
    Under Options also, for the rules of sorting messages it has also a limit on the number ‘250’ if i remember and then it stops redirection of mails.
    Nowadays you need at least a good ‘2000’ capacity to limit what you receive and Hotmail is not expanding it.
    Already i mailed Hotmail on that but the answer always : How to sweep and it is a false statement because of the lomit on the volume to sweep.

  7. Microsoft software engineers write all kinds of programs in the field but how come they can not write a program that can block spammers. I think they do not want to do it purposely. Probably, they have financial interest.

    • You’re are right. Not only that. On occasions, they will intentionally put some of your mails in the spammer folder. This is to make you visit the spam (advertisment) folder everytime you want to delete the junk mails. This is free email services. They need to make money for providing the service.

        • The theory may be partially true. Advertisers range from
          those who honor the unsubscribe link and respect our privacy
          to spammers, with varying degrees of marketing aggressiveness
          in between.

          Webmail providers may be reluctant to antagonise those marketers
          in between by providing effective means of subduing email spam
          once and for all. But they know they must make a show of
          “fighting” spam, or “combatting” it.

          So they give us these useless blocking procedures. Most don’t
          even have the decency to just blacklist the offending mail via
          a right click menu option.

          And they tell us to report spam. That involves persuading a
          third party to “do something”.

          The best remedy is a webmail that provides an Exclusive Blocker
          that allows only mail from Contacts, includes the option to
          block the non-Contact mail at the webmail server, and has
          alias addresses of the sort provided by gmx and mail.com.

          The Exclusive Blocker could be “aimed”, or assigned to any one,
          all, or any combination of these alias addresses. The aliases not
          using the Blocker can receive mail from those not in Contacts,
          such as old friends looking for us in social media. If the
          addresses are compromised, they can be deleted and replaced with
          a new alias, preventing any “woodpecker” spammers from returning
          with new false addresses.

          I’ve been using a version of this system for 5 years now with two
          AOL accounts, one Gmail account, and three alias address accounts,
          all managed with the LastPass password manager. I get no woodpecker
          spam.

          However, it is possible AOL may be revising its formaT to exclude
          their Exclusive Blocker. If they do, then the strategic use of
          alias email addresses, coupled with the use of scrambled usernames
          such as leomark9Wx4#apc@whatever.com, will keep the repeat spammers
          at bay. (Scrambled usernames prevent password crackers from brute
          force guessing of the username).

          These “woodpecker” spammers can be beat without relying on the
          cooperation of third parties when we use the tools that are available
          to us.

          • I’ve had otherwise legitimate companies which didn’t stop the mailings when I unsubscribed (a very rare occurrence, probably due to faulty website programming and not deliberate). In that case I marked them as spam and set a filter to send any email from them to the trash folder. That’s blocking but it takes a few more steps.

  8. @Najam,
    The problem is that the spammers are also good programmers. They are, by the very nature of what they are doing, always ahead of the anti-spam guys. Same thing with malware writers.

    The bad guys think of a new way to get through the system, and then the system engineers have to first discover the breach, and then write a new block. So the spammers are always ahead of the game because they are creating the game.

    You are absolutely right that they have financial interest. Unfortunately for us the “They” are the spammers. They do it because it works and they can make a lot of money from it.

  9. In Outlook (in MS Office) the command to mark as spam is called block sender. This should also train the spam filter. MS has a tendency to use confusing terms. 🙁 .

  10. I agree that the process of blocking the sender does not work, but I prefer to create a rule containing the offending “text” within the subject matter / title of the mail and that takes care of all the mails from spammed addresses, as it takes the content of the mail rather than the actual sender.

  11. When gaming in games.com ONLY, my mouse goes jerky after 4 games and I have to restart PC and then it works again. Thank you. Hope you can help?

    PS I enjoy your newsletter very much.

  12. My ISP provides a service that I believe you can buy for your own use. It works better than any I have even seen, requiring only a glance once a week to free any false positives, which are very rare. it’s Antespam.com, and it typically blocks at least 95% of the spam going to four addresses, numbering more than a hundred, with maybe one mistake a week on one address. My outlook.com (hotmail) acount does exactly what it promises, too. The senders marked go straight to the junk mail folder, where they are easily ignored and easy to delete.

  13. I agree with Ian Minterin his statement about blocking the “offending text” .
    I use Eudora and it has multiple choice’s as what to look for when creating filters for email.
    Eudora allows you to send it to the junk or trash mailbox (Eudora’s term for folders), your choice.

  14. I too had the same problem, rather i still do but what I did was buy a program called mailwasher and I run that program to see the who what and where, without downloading all that crap. I can then look to see if it is junk or not and with a simple click delete the junk from the good mail and it deletes it off my ISP email account and opens up my email program and downloads the good email automatically. This way I don’t even download the junk to my computer and it also keeps track of junk and malware and virus email and marks it for deletion. From what i understand is that it just gets the user name, subject and the first 20 lines if you need to see if it is good or not.

  15. Leave you spam in the spam filter for 30 days, then G-mail will delete it. They told me that a spam that sits in the spam filter thirty days is thought by the spammer to be a dead address and they will stop using that address. That’s what I do.

  16. I never delete spam, I let it go into g-mails filter and they delete it after 30days. It also shows how many spam are in the filter. Sometimes there 1500 or more, I could care less, and I never check it. The people or companies that I want to email me get through. I’m not concerned with any mail that doesn’t get to me. Just like my cell phone, if I do not recognize the number, I don’t answer it. And snail mail, if I don’t recognize the sender it goes right in my shredder unopened. There are to many junk emails, junk phonecalls and junk letters to waste my time on.

  17. I use Gmail in addition to AOL mail (which I joined in 1996). In spite of all the negative Internet comments about AOL service, it has done a good job handling SPAM emails to my account. Gmail also does a good filter job.

  18. In Thunderbird, I’ve had good luck with a filter that marks all email as spam and moves them to the junk folder if the sender is not in my address book. It works well for me because I almost never get email from people I don’t know.

  19. Thank you very much, Leo, for sharing your passion and knowledge with all of us! Personally I prefer to delete the spam folder manually, as I don’t receive much spam to create a rule in order to block them. A good idea could be to create a separate email address and use it in all public forums and web sites, and to have another email account that is suitable for private and serious purposes (work, family and close friends, to name a few). Best regards from Paraguay, South America

  20. Being an X_Army vet, I just want to know the IP Addresses location.. Leave the rest to me after that.. 😉 I’ll guarantee a 100% spam blockage after that! It’s getting to the point now where the laws don’t protect consumers at all, and the local municipalities don’t care anymore. It’s funny how governments can DEMAND routes back to our information, but that same “standard” isn’t applied for protection to all… If a person can send something, then a person should have to be registered and accountable.

    We all know that each and every email DOES have a fingerprint. Governments use this information all the time to track sources. In my humble opinion, that SAME information should be kept on file as “record” by the ICAAN group and “PUBLICLY” displayed…

    Sure, a majority of information is sent from spamming services, and since these companies are making “profits” from our painful experience, they should be “publicly” available for reverse pain that we provide them… In my opinion, this would “quickly” bring about “balance” in internet accountability…

    • Since most, if not all, spammers operate out of country with lax enforcement, I’m not convinced those ideas would help.

  21. we use office 365 or office 2013, which i believe are the same thing. When block a sender, it does nothing. i still get mail from that exact same address to my inbox. if i right click on the email, and click on Junk Email options, i can see the address in the blocked senders list. Why doesn’t outlook use this list?

  22. Blocking DOES work. Most people only communicate with specific addresses. It’s only those in the tech industry that think it doesn’t. Block everything that is not in the list the you have selected. This used to be a logical and simple solution that worked for me. Why would you want unsolicited mail ever? All companies should have ONE official mailing address. Maybe there should be an official corporate directory example: @microsoft.com. Np variants, no deviations, no extensions. Thus, is a company wants it’s emails read it has to verify it’s existence using tax records or whatever to prove it is a genuine entity to get on ‘the list’. If you are not on the list, you don’t get in. ALL other emails get rejected unless an exception is created. ALL cmpanies on the list must sign up to a NO spam policy. None of this passion your details on to affiliates to bombard you with bullshit without you express permission. Boxes must be ticked if you want mail. No reverse psychology tricks of asking people to tick boxes if they don’t want mail, then switching it back an forth every time orders are laced. Yes we know your dirty marketing tricks.
    Job done.
    No spam!

  23. I am constantly receiving emails in my Inbox from Adnet. I have in the past unsubscribed, but I understand that will only generate even more. I block them, they still come through. I mark them as Spam, they still come through. How can I ever stop them inundating my Inbox?

  24. The best solution would be to charge for E-mail. Something like one mil per E-Mail. For most legitimate users that would just be pennies but the spammers would be put out of business.

    • Sounds like a good idea, but I don’t think it would be technologically implementable. If governments imposed a $0.001 tax, there would be too many workarounds possible. First of all every country would have to agree to impose such a tax, otherwise spammers could route the spam through non-participating countries, which is similar to what they do now, sending spam trough countries which don’t enforce cybercrime laws. And the nature of how email works, the spammers could bypass the legitimate channels.

  25. Hi, Your answer really didn’t address the problem I am experiencing. I have blocked not spam, but an address from an individual (in gmail). I have the email diverted from the inbox to the trash box. I have done this with a number of other people and it works just fine. With this one individual however, it is not working. The emails continue to show up in the inbox. What has gone wrong? What to do? Thanks.

  26. Excellent discourse…It answers my questions of why spammers etc cannot be blocked. They go to my junk mail but that is the best we can do. alas, that is too bad. I REALLY HATE THEM and would pay if that would do the trick.

    • I was sick and tired of all the spam I received coming from different email addresses. Besides even if I could them individually they still all got to my phone anyway. I needed to stop the spam at the server before it was distributed. I created a filter that checked the addresses/emails and compared it to my contact list and sent them to spam if their address/email wasn’t in my contact list. I now only check the spam folder at the server once or twice a week and add users I want to my contact list and delete the rest. Now I never see spam on my phone and it works great, except for the legit twits that use multiple address/email. It would be nice to be able to add a domain list to my contacts to take care of these exceptions.

  27. My gmail account continually marks my friend’s email as SPAM so that I have to spend extra time going to the SPAM Filter to read much of my friendly incoming.

    • Make sure to mark each as Not spam when that happens. Eventually Gmail will learn. Alternately you could set up a filter to skip spam for emails from your friend.

  28. Actually, this depends from the email program. In my other email when i block someone he can’t send me emails. But in Gmail…..
    This option is useless in Gmail.

    • I agree. When I block a specific address it means I don’t want mail from that address, period, not in my Inbox, not in my Spam folder. (I’m aware this does not work with a spammer.) In Yahoo mail once blocked I saw nothing from them. In GMail it comes in to the spam folder which is a complete annoyance as I then must see it. Who thought up that brilliant idea?

      • In Gmail and probably most other email providers, you can set a filter to send unwanted senders’ email directly to trash. I’ve blocked a few that way.

  29. why the hell should we have to change an email address that our lives have been connected to just because some hard-headed spammer cant take a hint that some people are just uninterested in their product or service. It should be made easier to block completely a HARRASSING spammer,call a spade a spade,since its useless to block them there should be a link or something to report a HARRASING spammer because thats literally what they are doing.

    • There are government websites for reporting spam, but I wouldn’t waste time reporting it to them because spammers do a good job of covering their tracks via spam bots and operating out of countries which don’t go after spammers.

  30. now that my blocked mail goes to spam would it be a good idea to also…. unsubscribe… to some of these emails or just that give the spammer more ammunition that he has found a real email address…or is it best just to DELETE

    • It depends. If it is a legitimate newsletter or service that you have subscribed to, always use their unsubscribe service and NEVER just send to spam. If you send them to spam then you are actually telling world-wide spam services that they are spammers. That makes it very hard on legitimate businesses who are trying to provide value.

      If it is some list that you have been put on without your permission, then never use the unsubscribe because that will just let them know that the email is a good one and you will get more spam.

      Bottom line… it is your responsibility to pay attention, know and remember what you are doing online.

      • Unfortunately some large businesses such as Frontier send emails without asking and with no unsubscribe option. Yes there are mega businesses that dense.

        • Just being a large well-known company doesn’t exempt their newsletters from being spam. No reason to protect their website from being labeled as spammers. My rule of thumb is if it takes more than 2 clicks (that’s one more than it should take) to unsubscribe, I mark it as spam.

    • NEVER “unsubscribe” from spam. It just tells the spammer that you’re real, and that they can send you more spam. If YOU subscribed, then unsubscribe. If you didn’t subscribe and it just started arriving, then mark as spam, and delete.

  31. I did read the article. I have another question. When you go to unsubscribe, but don’t actually do it to let them know you are real, it shows the supposed domain that it comes from-which of course is different than what is shown like you said. I have tried to block that entire domain but am not having any luck. Is that not the real domain either? Thank you for your time and trouble. I am new to this.

    • Probably not. Spammers are quite crafty that way. The best – and often the only – thing you can do is simply mark the email as spam, and get on with your life.

  32. Gmail says you can block many adverstisers (forgot the number) I have only been able to block a few. Now when I try to block the ‘Block this Advertiser’ is greyed out. What gives?

  33. How about letting me block ALL email that arrives claiming to be from my own email address? I didn’t send myself any emails selling myself Viagra. So why can’t I just block all emails that claim to be from my own email? Just delete them before they get sent to my inbox or junk box. NOT THAT HARD FOR THE ISP TO SEE WHEN IT IS A SPOOFED EMAIL HEADER!

  34. Firstly; I am 87 years of age so the likelihood of some long lost benefactor dying and leaving me a fortune is highly unlikely, so I couldn’t care less what goes into my spam. Therefore what I would like is to be able to right click on my gmail spam button and just delete it without even look at some of the tasteless content.

    Perhaps someone can tell me how long it would take for the bad men and women to pick up on a new email address and continue pestering.

  35. hi Leo,
    May not qualify in terms of your “Leave a reply ” rules < but just what do you do for this problem on your own machine.

    Thanks from ,
    Hyde in South Africa.

  36. Hi Leo,
    Just want to thank you for all the help you give. I’m 85 and have used computers at home and at work since basic and having to write my own programs. Needless to say this doesn’t help me now. I don’t even understand the techtalk. That’s why I appreciate you so much. It’s very frustrating at my age to try to figure out what someone in third grade is trying to explain to me. LOL Please keep up the great work. Maybe with your help I’ll understand icons and apps. (great grandson thought this was hysterical when I first got my laptop and asked him this question. I’ve gotten rid of my tower but I hate win10 which I accidentally let in two years ago. Win7 was the best but I can’t get it back. I had win 8.1 before my mistake but now the touch screen isn’t working so I depend on my mouse. Sorry I talk too much. Thanks again.

  37. This is the most thorough site I’ve seen so far that addresses the junk mail issue.Thank you. I have not been able to find an answer anywhere online as to why I get so much junk mail in the new “clutter folder” in my hotmail account. It is practically useless. Microsoft’s explanation for what is does is no help at all. Anybody have the same problem?

      • The “clutter” folder is a new feature in Outlook 2016 for Windows. It is available only if you have an Office 365 subscription. lucky me. I’m not even sure of it’s purpose, as I receive as much junk in this folder as I do in my junk mail folder. And no matter how many times I mark the same mail as junk, it comes right back to the clutter folder

  38. I am using outlook 2010, outlook 2013 and outlook 2016 all getting emails from a gmail imap account. For all three versions of outlook I always have to let outlook highlight the email in my inbox, and then outlook will Apply the Junk filter and move the email out of my inbox. For example, if my inbox was empty and I received 5 junk emails, they would all be removed automatically from my inbox. If I received 1 good email, then five Junk emails – the 1 good email would be highlighted and the 5 remaining junk emails would not be processed as junk. They just sit in my inbox until they are highlighted. Any ideas?

  39. How about if someone at Microsoft, or elsewhere, wrote a programmer to send ALL your spam emails to each individual spammer?

  40. I, at one time modified the “Host” file to send them to 127.. Would like to reroute “.mmm” to nowhere. No longer to a *.COM that has no future in my world.

  41. I have used a programme called Mailwasher for years and it is great. It acts BEFORE files are downloaded to your PC, the intention being that if you bounce them then, the spammer’s computer may think your email account does not exist. Mailwasher itself will flag emails it thinks might be spam. Once you identify a sender or domain (and Mailwasher shows you the ACTUAL sender, not the screen name) as spam, you just blacklist it and any future emails from that source will always be flagged. Blacklisting a domain gets around some of the problem of spammers changing the email address they are using. I choose to check them and bounce, but you could also choose to delete automatically. They never hit your actual PC. If you’ve made a mistake, they are in a “deleted” folder in Mailwasher where you can recover them if need be.
    I like the fact I can see all emails BEFORE they hit my PC, so I never lose a good one to a Spam folder.
    I believe there is a free version too – but I have paid a small fee for a lifetime subscription which I think is money well spent! I have no connection to the company (FireTrust) before anyone thinks I’m advertising. If anyone is interested this is the website. https://www.mailwasher.net/

    • I used to use MailWasher too. It was okay, until my ISP realized what I was up to and asked me not to use it. This was a small (and very inexpensive) ISP. I guess he didn’t like all the excess emails (bounce messages) that I was sending out. Now I find it’s just as easy to hit the Junk button and have Thunderbird move the spam out of my way.

      I also set up a filter in Thunderbird to filter messages from people who are not in my address book to a separate folder. I don’t get many unsolicited emails that I actually want.

  42. How do i block spam evan i blocked spam from setting says more i press bocked i get every day spam i had enough please help

    • You don’t “block” spam. You simply mark spam messages AS spam, and eventually the email system you’re using starts placing messages like that into your spam folder automatically.

  43. Why, when I delete a spam message in Google, it shows back in my spam folder in about a minute. I have a theory that Google shares email and gets paid by spammers to send spam. Sounds like a crazy conspiracy nut, but Google’s spam filter does not seem to be doing anything. I don’t have one example of Google’s filter eliminating any spam from my Google account.

    • Yep, sounds like a crazy conspiracy.

      The spam folder is where spam is PLACED when it’s detected. It doesn’t “eliminate” spam, it simply directs it to the spam folder. That’s how spam filters generally work.

  44. I use AOL and I noticed despite marking spam I would get the same individual spam daily forever, having a look at where it comes from a lot are from the same email address with variations. If you want to block these individual sites you have to put a * between the dots i.e. supposing its info@numpty.Lazyscrounger.org.uk you have to block *.numpty.Lazyscrounger.org.uk but also *.*.Lazyscrounger.org.uk it took me a while but I managed to get rid of the ‘floaters’.
    I blame the website address providers.

  45. A useful tip I have discovered, that seems to run contrary to advice these days, is to not put your name in your email address. I have my name in one email address I use (I have several)and have only given this email for official use, cv’s etc but it is constantly bombarded with spam. I have another email address which was the name of my business, which was a completely made up word. I have used this email for all my customers and business contacts for the last 6 years. It receives about 1 spam mail a month. Rather more manageable! Make it up folks!

    • One reason for that is probably because spammers have email name generators. A common name plus a popular email domain will be more likely to come up when they generate addresses.

  46. One sure way to succeed is to make a rule for particular words in subject or body. Take Viagra for example. Create a rule that looks for “Viagra” in subject or body, and if found, permanently delete the email. Offensive words? Do the same thing. You can’t do this for every spam mailing, but it will substantially reduce what you do get.

    • Adaptive spam filters do something similar and they do a whole lot more in determining what might be spam. Marking an email as spam in your email program or webmail interface generally trains the adaptive spam filter.

  47. Jon Doe
    August 25, 2018 at 2:17 pm

    why can’t the “Spam Folder” empty itself, say, every 10 minutes?

    REPLY
    Leo
    August 25, 2018 at 2:47 pm

    Many do empty spam older than a certain amount of time. (Gmails is 30 days for example). 10 minutes isn’t nearly enough time to allow you to check for false positives periodically.

    SHOULDN’T THAT BE UP TO US TO DETERMINE?

    • Perhaps. But there are SO MANY THINGS that could fall into that “shouldn’t it be up to us?” category that mail programs an interfaces would be horrifically bogged down in options and complexity. Honestly, if they’re going to add options, this isn’t one I’d prioritize at all.

  48. What I mean by my last comment is that we ought to be able to decide for ourselves what settings we want to put on emptying out the Spam Folders, shouldn’t we?

    An example of circumstances…. Let’s say a Woman had been living with a Man and he was very abusive so she manages to escape from him, but he keeps stalking her and sending her daily emails. And so she tries to block his emails because seeing them is very disturbing to her. But then she has got to see them al the time because after blocking his emails, she just has to see them once again in her Spam Folder and delte them. It makes no sense whatsoever to me. If she decides that she wants the Spam Folder emptied every 10 minutes, then shouldn’t that be her own choice to make? Why not allow People to create their own Spam Folder Settings and be able to set the rate of deletion of emails?

    I think that is one of the major problems that some of these people who create Programs have, is that they think themselves as some sort of ‘Deciders’ who should determine what is best for everybody, instead of allowing them to make their own choices. Just like Google, for instance with their ‘Google Doodles’ or whatever these daily things they put up are called It would be great if you could just not have to see that if you didn’t want to, and you could just turn it off. But I guess they have ‘determined’ that we need to be able to have to look at these things every day.

    • Depending on the service it would be a simple thing to set up a rule that immediately deletes email from a specific sender, bypassing the spam folder. Gmail can do this, for example.

  49. The problem with sending spam into Junk Mail folder is that I still have to sort through it. Mail that I do want ends up in there. Adding sender to contacts list doesn’t always keep mail out of spam folder and isn’t always possible to do in advance. Clicking Not Spam isn’t effective either.

    Responsible registrars would contractually prohibit spamming by their clients Or Their Agents, and upon notice Would Enforce Their Contracts meaning cancel registration of domain name.

    The problem is that they don’t. And there’s no help from IANA, ICANN or Congress.

    And registrars should keep records of who is opening these domains and prevent known, repeat-violation entities from registering new ones.

    I also don’t understand these anonymous registrations. Some anonymizing services belong to the registrars themselves. In cases where they seem not to, do the registrars know who the registrant is? If not, that’s too much. I don’t know why identity verification isn’t required, if in fact it isn’t.

    Currently, I’m receiving several unwanted, unsolicited commercial emails daily from just one sender, doing business under two names. The registrar (GoDaddy) uses an autoresponder to acknowledge spam complaints – and then does nothing.

    These two domains are listed as Client Delete Prohibited. I’d like to know what that means.

  50. I am forever getting Spam emails in my hotmail junk folder that end with ……… @allin .
    There are often about 6 in a day all with a different selection of numbers beforehand and – YES – you guessed it – they are all different –
    So even if I still had the space to block anymore ( I am on hotmail ) ….. it will do nothing because @allin just changes the numbers .
    It has become BEYOND annoying !!!!
    The Block feature will not take just the domain name section ….ie @allin

    • If they’re going in to the spam folder the system is working as it should — they are spam. Perhaps don’t spend a lot of time looking at your spam folder?

  51. This article does not explain what I have going on. Your article says “… but if the sender is determined, the block is easily bypassed. And spammers are determined … boy, are they determined! Blocking senders is useless in the war against spam.” It, also, says “Blocking email is good for anything that isn’t spam.”

    My problem is that Outlook is not blocking emails from organizations which are not spam. It isn’t blocking anything.

    I will follow your advice to place them in the spam folder but I would be interested to know why it won’t block normal emails.

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