How can I block all the spam that keeps getting into my Inbox?
The solution that I use is Mailwasher Pro.
Email — we love to get personal email. We need to get our business email. But, do we need to get all the junk emails, too?
Back in the early 1990’s, I remember checking my email one morning and finding a really neat one — some creative computer science student from Hawaii had sent me his résumé. It took me a little while to figure out what had happened. This was my first-ever piece of spam. This kid had sent his résumé to everyone who had posted a message to any of the Usenet comp.sys.ibmpc newsgroups. Even after I knew what he did, I thought it was cool. Not too long after that, though, was the start of the most prolific Usenet spam — the "green card lottery" spam.
Fast forward to 2005: I now receive about 250-300 emails per day, and it seems like 50% of them must be spam. Our ISPs can help, but, as users, we also have ways to control this.
First, never open or "preview" the junk email (with Outlook and Outlook Express, the "preview pane" actually opens the email in an embedded Internet Explorer window, which is probably one of the worst things you could do from a security point of view.)
Second, never, ever, click on the link in the spam email if you do open it.
Third, never, ever, ever buy the product advertised through spam. Spammers send millions of emails, hoping that even a tiny percentage of recipients will buy through their advertisement. If people refuse to buy the products advertised with spam, then the spammers will give up!
What else can you do? One control system you can use is a program called Mailwasher Pro (that’s what I use). With Mailwasher Pro, you preview the sender and subject of emails before you actually download the emails from your ISP. Then, you can delete the junk emails before they are sent to you. The power of Mailwasher Pro, though, is that you can cause Mailwasher Pro to bounce the email back as if your email address did not exist. If you are lucky, your bounces cause the bad guys to take you off their list.
Outlook has its own “junk filter” system built in; however, I have heard mixed reports on its effectiveness. Some other email programs also have built-in junk filters. My choice used to be a free email “classification program” called PopFile, that handles spam/junk email as well as classifying any other type of email you want to identify — such as "work," "computer tips," and "hobby." PopFile works in conjunction with "rules" that you create in Outlook & Outlook Express, also known as "filters" in other programs like Eudora, to segregate spam from the good stuff.
By default, PopFile will add "[spam]" to the beginning of the subject line of a message that it thinks is spam. Then, you can use the rules/filters to say "if the subject contains [spam], put this email in the junk folder." After training — you have to train any anti-spam system to tell it what _you_ think is spam — PopFile on my computer has averaged 99.45% accuracy since I reset the statistics in May, 2004 — that’s on over 165,000 emails!
You can download PopFile at http://popfile.sourceforge.net. It is free to use and free to share. PopFile works with Outlook, Outlook Express, Eudora, Thunderbird and other POP3 email programs.
Mailwasher Pro is the anti-spam program that I use to prevent spam and phishing emails from getting to my computer.