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Help Keep Spam Out of Your Inbox

Stem the tide by using these powerful tools

You have powerful tools to help stem the tide of spam, from SmartScreen spam filters to common sense, to SenderID technology that helps verifies who an email message is from.

Use email software with built-in spam filtering

Microsoft SmartScreen is an intelligent spam-filtering solution that is integrated across all Microsoft email platforms, including:

  • Microsoft Office Outlook 2003
  • Microsoft Office Outlook 2007
  • Windows Live Hotmail
  • Windows Live Mail
  • Windows Mail

SmartScreen technology determines how to distinguish between legitimate email messages and spam by using extensive user input from hundreds of thousands of Windows Live Hotmail users.

The result is that more legitimate emails reach you and upward of 95 percent of spam is blocked.

Keep your filters current

Spam is a cat-and-mouse game with spammers working relentlessly to outwit the filters. Do your part by keeping your junk email filter up to date.

Update your email junk mail program and email filters. Spammers continually try new tricks to bypass anti-spam technologies. The Outlook Junk email Filter is powered by Microsoft SmartScreen technology and helps prevents spam from cluttering your inbox.

Updates are available from Microsoft Update and can be downloaded automatically, providing you up-to-date protection against spam and phishing.

Be careful about sharing your email or instant message address

  • Only share your primary email address with people you know. Avoid listing 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).
  • Set up an email address dedicated solely to web transactions. Consider using a free email service, like Windows Live Hotmail to help keep your primary email address private. When you get too much spam there, simply drop it for a new one.
  • Create an email name that's tough to crack. Try a combination of letters, numbers and other characters: or (substituting zero for the letter "O"). Research shows that people with such names get less junk email.
  • Disguise your email address when you post it to a message board, newsgroup, chat room or other public Web page. For example, SairajUdin AT example DOT com. This way, a person can interpret your address, but the automated programs that spammers use often cannot.
  • Watch out for pre-checked boxes. When you buy things online, companies sometimes pre-select check boxes by which you indicate that it's fine to sell or give your email address to responsible parties. Clear the check box if you don't want to be contacted.

Tip: When you sign up for Web-based services such as banking, shopping or a newsletter, carefully read the privacy policy before revealing 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.

Sender ID technology helps keep email honest

According to a recent Microsoft study, spammers send an average of 3.8 billion messages to Hotmail addresses every day. Thanks to a technology called Sender ID, an average of 20 million of those spam messages are blocked from email inboxes every day.

Sender ID authenticates inbound email to help verify that it is from the person that it says it is from. Messages that have been authenticated by Sender ID are less likely to be spam and messages that fail Sender ID are more likely to be spam.

If you use the following email programs, you're already experiencing increased protection from spam through Sender ID:

  • MSN Hotmail
  • Windows Live Hotmail
  • Microsoft Exchange Server
  • Microsoft Office Live Mail

To help distinguish between verifiable and unverifiable senders, Sender ID checks and validates the sender's email address against the sender's Internet Protocol (IP).

An increasing number of technology organizations have announced Sender ID support by encouraging industry adoption, publishing their own sender records, or offering specific products and services that support the Sender ID system, from email applications to antispam services. For more information on Sender ID, visit

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).