Spam protection guide - how to defend your email account from junk mail

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If you're keen to say no to emails that get in the way and have nothing to do with you, you might want to try Plusnet Protect. It has its own anti-virus protection and can help you fight against spam, scary online viruses, hackers and spyware.

To find out more, take a look at Plusnet Protect.

All Plusnet email accounts come with spam filtering already set up for you. It'll block most spam emails from reaching your inbox at all. Anything we're not sure about will go straight into your spam folder (called Junk in webmail).

Below are some easy tips and tricks to help you get started with keeping your email account spam-free.

To keep things simple, all of the settings we talk about in this article can be found in Manage My Mail. It's easy to find. Here's how.

  1. Go to the Member Centre.
  2. Log in with your Plusnet username and password.
  3. Click on Email Settings (it's on the menu, on the left).
  4. Click Manage My Mail and you're ready to start changing your settings.
  5. Or you can head over to and log in from there.

Spam protection is turned on by default but this can be changed using Manage My Mail.

  1. Click Spam.
  2. Choose which domains (that’s the bit after the @ sign) you want to change the spam settings for. You might only have one option here. If you have more than one, you can edit them one by one, or tick Apply these settings to all my domains to change the settings for all of them.
  3. Then decide whether you want spam filtering to be On or Off and select what you’ve chosen under Should spam filtering be enabled. We reckon it’s best to just leave it on.
  4. Click Update Settings.

Switching your spam protection on or off can take up to 48 hours to change.

It decides what to do with junk messages that make it through to your inbox. Turning Discard Obvious Spam on means that any emails with a high spam rating will be deleted straight away.

If you think emails you want to see are being deleted by mistake, try turning it off. Or add the sender to your whitelist so it doesn’t happen again. Have a look at How do I approve or block certain email addresses below for more on how to do this.

Discard Obvious Spam is enabled by default and can be switched on or off using Manage My Mail.

  1. Click Spam.
  2. Decide whether you want Discard Obvious Spam to be On or Off and select what you’ve chosen under Discard Obvious Spam.
  3. Click Update Settings.

Anything we think is spam goes straight to your ‘Spam’ folder. It’ll be called Junk in Webmail. You can also see it if you use IMAP to get your messages. If you use POP3, then you’ll need to log into Webmail to check your spam.

If you want to change this, then there are a few places you can send spam messages.

  1. Click Spam.
  2. Under How would you like us to deal with messages identified as spam? Select the option that works best for you.
  3. Click Update Settings.

Move to the Spam Folder

This is how your email is set up automatically, as we explained above.

Move to Inbox

If you chose this, emails we think are spam will go to your inbox instead of the spam folder. This can be useful if you’re using POP3 to get your email and you don’t want the hassle of logging into Webmail to check Junk. This works best with spam tagging turned on, so you can easily see which messages have been classed as spam. To find out how to do that, take a look at Can I make spam easy to spot? below.

Move to an existing Mailbox

Emails we think are spam will go to a separate Mailbox with its own username and password. For more info on Mailboxes, see here.

Yes and it's pretty simple. Your spam filter checks each email and decides whether or not it's spam. You can adjust how aggressive it is, with 5 being most aggressive and 1 the least. The spam filter is automatically set to 1. If a lot of spam emails are managing to get through, then try making this number higher.

  1. Click Spam.
  2. Find the Aggressiveness of the spam filter scale. (It looks like a counter with 5 buttons to choose from)
  3. Choose from 1 to 5, depending on how hard you want your spam filter to work.
  4. Click Update Settings.

Tip: If you think messages are being wrongly seen as spam or not spam, use the Spam and Not Spam buttons in Webmail. These buttons help us get better at spotting spam for you.

If you've got spam filtering switched on (see above), you can choose to 'tag' the subject line of spam emails so they're easier to spot. This works best when you have junk emails sent to your inbox instead of the 'Spam' folder.

  1. Click Spam.
  2. Find Would you like messages identified as spam to be tagged?
  3. Select Add [-SPAM-] to the subject line.
  4. Click Update Settings.

If emails from one of your contacts are being marked as spam or going missing, then you can 'whitelist' (allow) their email address. You just need to add them to your Approved Addresses list. Emails from whitelisted addresses will never be seen as spam. Here's how to do it.

  1. Click Spam.
  2. Find White/ Black List Filtering.
  3. Add any approved senders to the Approved Addresses list, and any you don't want to hear from to Blocked Addresses. These do exactly what they say and will treat incoming emails from these addresses like you've asked them to.
  4. Click Update Settings.

If you're getting a lot of unwanted email from a particular address, then you can 'blacklist' (block) them. You just need to add them to your Blocked Addresses list. Emails from blacklisted addresses are automatically rejected by our mail servers.

Blacklisting and whitelisting uses the 'return-path' address of an email when choosing to let it through or not. Sometimes, this 'return path' address may be different to the email address being shown by your email program.

If you've blacklisted or whitelisted an email address and it's not doing what it should be doing, check you've used the 'return-path' address rather than the 'from' address. To find the return-path of an email in Webmail, select the message, click the More actions... menu button (it looks like a cog) and then click Show source.

Catch All should be switched off anyway, but if you've turned it on before you might want to switch it back off to avoid junk mail. Spammers often target lots of random email addresses at once, so you'll be more likely to get spam with Catch All on.

To turn it off:

  1. Go to Catch All
  2. Find the Catch All Status dropdown and switch it to Off.

If you switch Catch All to off, you'll only get emails sent to addresses shown under Summary in Manage My Mail.

For more info on Catch All mailboxes, take a look at 'How to use your Plusnet email'.

Spammers are clever at sending out junk and will often use stolen 'from' addresses to send large volumes of spam to their targets. This means spammers look like they're sending messages from your email.

If you're unlucky enough to have this happen, you might start getting failed delivery report messages out of nowhere. It can be very annoying but unfortunately all that can be done is to wait for it to stop.

Your best bet for fighting it off in the future is to stay as safe as possible with your email account. Have a look at our Staying safe online guide for more info.

Yes. It's a great way of dealing with spam if your address has been around for a while and has started getting a lot of it.

If the email address you want to change is an additional mailbox, redirect or alias then you can just delete it and set up a new one.

  1. Click Summary.
  2. Click the trash can icon next to the mailbox, redirect or alias you want to delete.
  3. Click Yes to confirm.

When you delete a mailbox:

  • Email stored on our servers for the mailbox you're removing will be deleted with it.
  • Aliases that've been created to go to the mailbox being removed will also be deleted.

If the email address you want to change is your main (default) address, then you can't delete it. You can rename everything before the @, which’ll prevent emails getting through to the old address.

  1. Click Mailboxes. This will show you all the mailboxes you have on your account at the moment. The first one listed will be your main account.
  2. Click on rename, next to your default email address.
  3. Type in your new email address and click Save Changes.

This will also change your email address, so make sure you've updated the 'from' address in your email program and your contact details.