Dealing with Spam

For general information on spam and the problems it presents, please see About Spam.

UBC IT has prepared a backgrounder on spam [PDF] which provides and overview of spam and how to best avoid it. Details on steps you can take to deal with spam can be found below.

You can also learn how to create quick steps to report and remove spam in one click. This helps you quickly manage your mailbox. For example, if you frequently received SPAM messages you can use a Quick Step to forward the message to is-spam@ubc.ca. These are sent to the vendor who will update spam scanning rules.

There are steps you can take to avoid spam

If you are already receiving spam, you can make the situation more manageable by doing the following:

  1. Enable Server-Side Spam filtering
  2. Enable Server-Side Bulk Email filtering
    • This will redirect all messages tagged as a possible bulk email messages (e.g. vendor newsletters) to a Bulk Email folder.
    • The Bulk Email folder needs to be reviewed regularly to ensure that there are no false positives and to clear up mailbox space.
    • No Email client is necessary for server-side rules to run.
    • This will reduce, not eliminate bulk email.
    • Instructions for FASmail users: Setting up Server-Side Bulk Email Filtering using FASmail Webmail (OWA)
       
  3. Submit Spam Samples
  4. Unsubscribe from Newsletter Emails from Legitimate Companies
    • Most vendors will provide a legitimate method of removing yourself from their contact list. Others may use this as a means to confirm that you are actually using the email address. There is no way to really tell which is the case.
    • If the vendor is a known entity (e.g. Cisco, Microsoft, Ticketmaster, etc...) then following these links to unsubscribe is generally safe. It is a good idea to inspect the destination address to ensure that the domain is tied to the vendor (e.g. ___.microsoft.com, ___.cisco.com, etc...)
      • Note that spammers may try to trick you with fake addresses that look legitimate (e.g. ___.microsoft.com.spamsite.info)
    • In some cases, you may have attended an event an entered a contest which results in targeted emails from vendors.
    • Never provide credentials after clicking one of these 'unsubscribe' links. Vendors do not need this information to unsubscribe you from their mailing list.
       
  5. Use Outlook's Built-in Spam Engine
    • Note: This option does not work with VDI.
    • In Outlook , go to the Home tab > Junk > Junk E-mail Options
    • Set the level of spam management you would like.
    • We generally recommend turning this option off unless you are being inundated with spam and the above options are not helping.
    • Using this option typically catches more false positives than desired but some may find it helpful.

    Further Details

    Are you uncertain of what spam is or why it's worth talking about? Please refer to About Spam for an introduction to spam email and to the Email Security page for tips on how to avoid spam.