Combating SPAM

This document explains how to implement our improved SPAM tools, as well as gives suggestions on how to combat incoming SPAM e-mail.

Document 5712  |  Last updated:  03/09/2020 MJY

"SPAM" is the use of mailing lists to blanket e‑mail boxes with indiscriminate, unsolicited messages. Many times, SPAM lists are created by "harvesting" e‑mail addresses from discussion boards and web pages. SPAM messages can occasionally flood an individual account or Internet Service Provider to the point where an account is unusable or the provider's data flow is significantly reduced.

There are several types of SPAM messages:

  • Unsolicited bulk e‑mail (UBE) — Unsolicited e‑mail, sent in large quantities.
  • Unsolicited commercial e‑mail (UCE) — This more restrictive definition is used by regulators whose mandate is to regulate commerce, such as the U.S. Federal Trade Commission.
  • Any e‑mail message that is fraudulent.
  • Any e‑mail message where the sender’s identity is "spoofed" to use another account or the message is sent using an unprotected e‑mail server.

More than 85% of all e‑mail traffic in the United States is classified as SPAM and falls under one of these categories. Although it's impossible to entirely eliminate SPAM, there are steps you can take to reduce unsolicited e‑mail. This document explains how to implement our improved SPAM tools, as well as gives suggestions on how to combat incoming SPAM e‑mail.

Enable SPAM filtering for your CertMail account

Enabling your SPAM filter allows our server side software to redirect unwanted e‑mail away from your Inbox. Messages that meet a predefined criteria will automatically be flagged as SPAM and placed in your SPAM folder. To configure your CertMail SPAM filter:

  1. From CertMail, click Options in the top toolbar.
  2. Scroll down to the Manage Your SPAM Settings section.

  3. Select Yes from the Enable SPAM Filtering drop‑down menu.
  4. Select your SPAM filtering preference from the When Blocked Senders Send E‑mail drop‑down menu. Options are:
    • If you want to reject e‑mail from any sender you've blocked, but also send a notice of the rejection, select the Reject E‑mail option.
    • If you want to simply want to delete e‑mail sent from senders you've blocked, select the Permanently Delete option.
    • If you'd prefer to have SPAM sent to a specific SPAM folder where you can sift through the messages later to ensure that no messages were incorrectly marked as SPAM, mark Move E‑mail to SPAM Folder option.
  5. When finished, click Save (at the top of the screen) to apply your changes.
Your SPAM folder is only accessible when accessing your account using CertMail online or an IMAP configuration. Users of POP3 configurations will need to check their SPAM folder using CertMail online.

Verify messages are correctly flagged as SPAM

Our SPAM filters use rules that adjust based on user feedback. When you flag a message as SPAM, or report a flagged message as NOT SPAM, our servers adjust their rules accordingly. This means our users help define what our system considers SPAM e‑mail.

Since our SPAM filters are server based you can only report these messages while using our CertMail web client.

  • To report a message as SPAM — Click the SPAM link above the message grid to flag the message as unsolicited and send it to your SPAM box.
  • To report a message as NOT SPAM — Click the NOT SPAM link above the message grid to flag the message as friendly and send it to your Inbox.
The sender of messages flagged as SPAM will automatically be added to your Blocked Senders List. The sender of messages flagged as NOT SPAM will automatically be added to your Safe Senders List.

Designate one e‑mail address for use on websites & directories

One of the main methods spammers use to generate their mailing lists is by "harvesting" e‑mail addresses off websites and directories. If you can do a Google search on your e‑mail address and find it out there, it means spammers can find it, too. Using one e‑mail address for your public listings can help reduce SPAM for all your other accounts.

Request a la mode to enable an SPF Record for your CertMail domain

A Sender Policy Framework (SPF) record helps prevent "spoofed" e‑mail messages. An SPF record allows other e‑mail servers to identify and reject e‑mails using a forged FROM address by specifying what servers are authorized to transmit e‑mail for that domain.

a la mode can enable SPF records for customers having problems with receiving "spoofed" e‑mail messages. However, SPF records will only work under very specific circumstances. Contact our support team at 1‑800‑ALAMODE if you're interested in adding an SPF record to your CertMail domain, to determine if this is a viable solution for you.

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