Spam

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Spam is the unsolicited email (junk mail, bulk mail) that floods the Internet each day. Some is from legitimate marketers, but much is from scam artists who make promises they have no intention of keeping.

What is spam

  • Chain letters
  • Get rich quick schemes
  • Health products
  • Offers for pornographic websites
  • Pyramid schemes
  • Stock offerings

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What isn’t spam

  • Campus broadcast messages
  • Crime alerts
  • Broadcast emails

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Some unwanted email is NOT spam.

  • If it is a legitimate mailing that you’ve somehow been subscribed to, then don’t mark it as spam!
  • If enough users do that, then Google will treat it as spam for everyone at NC State, including those who do want to receive it.
  • Instead, try one of the following:
    • If there is an “Unsubscribe” link, follow it for instructions.
      CAUTION: A phishing email might contain an unsubscribe link. If you click on it, your email address could be noted as active or even worse consequences could occur.
    • If there’s no “Unsubscribe” link, then you have various options to create a filter to keep mail from that address out of your Inbox. See Using filters.
  • If it is truly spam, then mark it as such. Google’s spam filters will then “learn” to send future mail from that address to your Spam folder.

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Checking your Spam folder

  1. In Gmail, in the left navigation column, scroll to the bottom.
  2. Click on More, and then scroll down further.
  3. Click on Spam
  4. Be careful about what you click on or open in the Spam folder
    1. Hover over a message to see the sender’s email address.
    2. If it looks the least bit suspicious (e.g., the sender name doesn’t appear related to the actual email address), do not open it and don’t move it to your Inbox. Leave it in your Spam folder.
  5. If you see items in the Spam folder that shouldn’t be there:
    1. Select the check box in front of the item, and click on Not spam at the top.
    2. If you see a specific pattern of email being caught as Spam (e.g., from a mailing list or a particular person), you can set up a Gmail filter to indicate that those emails are “never spam” and should be kept in your Inbox or placed directly into a specified folder. For more information, see Using filters.

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Where spammers get your email address

  • Free email accounts (e.g., Hotmail) not related to your Internet service provider
  • Free email groups
  • Free Web hosting companies (e.g., Tripod, Free-space.net)
  • “Get paid to surf” programs
  • Open lists
  • Shareware
  • Web pages that contain your address

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NC State’s efforts to stop spam

  • Gmail provides spam-filtering.

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Campus-level spam event

  • If a lot of spam comes to campus from a particular domain, OIT contacts personnel at that domain and requests assistance in stopping the spam. If the site does not respond within a given time period, OIT will add the site to the “block” list.
  • A blocked site can contact postmaster@ncsu.edu about being removed from the list.

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Domain blocking

  • OIT won’t block a domain for an individual user.
  • It will block one that is targeting the campus population.

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Filtering spam out of your email

For all Gmail users, Google provides ways to:

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More ways to avoid spam

  • You probably won’t be able to avoid it completely, but see Minimizing Spam for tips on reducing it.

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Additional resources:

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