Help keep spam out of your Inbox

Help keep spam out of your Inbox

Spam is any kind of email that you don’t want and that you didn’t sign up to receive. Some spam is annoying but harmless, but some might be part of an identity theft scam or other kind of fraud. You can get spam in instant messages, text messages, and on your social networking sites. This article primarily covers how to reduce spam email.

Use email software with built-in spam filtering. SmartScreen filter helps reduce unwanted email. It's built into Microsoft email programs and is turned on by default. SmartScreen is included in (formerly Hotmail ), Outlook (part of Microsoft Office), Exchange, Windows Live Mail, and Entourage.

Read more about how SmartScreen works in

How filters spam

Watch a video about how filters spam.

Add people you know to your safe sender list and unwanted senders to your blocked list. This helps SmartScreen personalize your email experience, to deliver email that you want into your Inbox, and to filter unwanted email into the Junk folder.

If a person or company that you have added to your safe sender list sends out a newsletter that you no longer want to subscribe to, you can safely unsubscribe with Outlook. To remove your email address from newsletters or mailing lists that are on your safe senders list, click Unsubscribe. If you use Outlook, Microsoft will notify the people who created the newsletter to stop sending it to you. This information is not sent through Microsoft—it goes directly from you to the sender of the newsletter.

Report junk mail. If you get an email message that looks like spam or a phishing scam, report it.

  • In Outlook, select the offending message and click the Junk button to report the message with one click. Or click the check box next to the message and click the arrow next to the Junk button at the top of your screen and select:

    • Junk for junk email.

    • Phishing scam for email that asks for sensitive personal information like passwords, bank accounts, or your Social Security number.

  • Note Legitimate businesses (including Microsoft) do not send unsolicited email messages to request personal or financial information. If you are suspicious about an email message, do not click a link or call the number in the message. Get the contact information from company's website if you want to inquire about a potential issue with your account.

    Learn more about phishing and other email and web scams.

Share your email address only with people you know. Avoid posting your email address on your social networking site, in large Internet directories, and in job-posting websites. Don't even post it on your own website (unless you disguise it as described below).

Ignore junk email or IM. Spammers get rich (and build their contact lists, too) when people buy their "products." So don't reply to spam (even to unsubscribe), buy anything from an unfamiliar business, give to any "charity" you don't know by reputation, or agree to hold or transfer money for anyone. Messages that appear to come from Microsoft and that ask for your password or threaten to close your account or expire your password are false.

Look for pre-checked boxes. When you shop online, companies sometimes pre-select check boxes that indicate you have agreed that it's fine to sell or give your email address to responsible parties. Be prudent about when to subscribe to email newsletters and about what kind of email messages you're willing to receive. Clear the check box if you don't want to be contacted.

Read the privacy policy. When you sign up for web-based services such as banking, shopping, or newsletters, carefully read the privacy policy before you reveal your email address so you don't unwittingly agree to share confidential information. The privacy policy should outline the terms and circumstances regarding if or how the site will share your information. If a website does not post a privacy statement, consider taking your business elsewhere.

Disguise your email address. When you post to a message board, newsgroup, chat room, or other public web page, spell out your entire email address, for example, SairajUdin AT example DOT com. This way, a person can interpret your address, but the automated programs that spammers use often cannot.

Improve your computer's security. You can greatly reduce your risk from hackers, viruses, and worms if you use a firewall, keep your Windows and Microsoft Office software up to date, and install antivirus and antispyware software (and update it routinely).