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What are the Different Ways to Block Spam?

Article Details
  • Written By: Malcolm Tatum
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 24 July 2017
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2017
    Conjecture Corporation
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Just about everyone wants to block spam from cluttering their email inboxes. Spam, also known as unsolicited email, can waste a great deal of time that could be spent on activities that are both more enjoyable and more lucrative. Fortunately, there are several tools available to consumers that can block spam effectively and make it easier to focus on emails that are desirable and of value to the recipient.

Many email programs today are equipped to block spam using what is known as an anti-spam filter. A filter typically works by allowing the end user to create a listing of email domains and addresses that are to be routed to a spam folder, should they be delivered by an email server. In some cases, the filters go one step further and actually reject the spam email, bouncing it back to the originator as undeliverable. Depending on the type of anti-spam software used as part of the filtering process, the end user may be able to simply specify that any emails from “@xyz.com” are automatically routed to a spam folder or bounced. Alternatively, the emails marked as spam are routed to a spam folder, allowing the end user to review them at his or her convenience and retrieve any that are of interest.

The ability to block spam is also provided by companies that provide email services, even free email that is accessed online. Just about all of the major free email services today provide end users with the option of activating spam protection within the individual email account. For most, this means routing any mail the service finds questionable to a spam folder. This keeps the inbox for the account relatively clean and free of spam. Should an unsolicited email make its way into the inbox, the user has the ability to mark that email message as spam, a process that over time helps the service to enhance the efficiency of its anti-spam firewall. Like many of the email programs designed to reside on hard drives, these online email services also offer some type of filtering that can be customized by end users, effectively decreasing the incidence of junk mail in the inbox.

At present, there is no single means to block spam that works in every scenario. The best approach is to make use of the several tools that are built into email programs as well as email services offered for free online. There are also independent anti-spam software packages that can be installed on hard drives and are purported to provide protection above and beyond the capabilities inherent in the email program. Some users find the additional software does help minimize spam emails while others do not believe the added software makes a significant difference in the number of unsolicited emails that are received.

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