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FAQ: Spam and Junk Mail

What is spam?

Spam is unsolicited (junk) email that is sent for advertisement purposes. Sometimes the messages that they send don't make sense. For instance, the subject can describe information about low‐cost pharmacy drugs, health or dental insurance, or pornographic related websites.  Sometimes they will appear to be written in a foreign language. Their goal is to get you to go to their website and give them money. They prey on your curiosity about what the message is about to get you to click onto their website and at that point, they could potentially harm your computer.

Why do I get junk email?

You may receive spam because your email address has been copied or sold to someone with the intent to advertise a product or service. Other times, spam is sent to random email addresses or every combination of letters and numbers that could make up an email address.  It also occurs from having your email address publicly posted on the Internet or on an email mailing list.

What should I do when I get spam?

Delete them. There is no harm in deleting a message. If it doesn't make sense to you, then delete it immediately. There is usually no need to contact us when you do get a message. Do not open any attachments in these messages as they may contain viruses. You can tell if a message has an attachment or not if there is a small paper clip icon with the message. Do not respond to these messages at all.

Why do I get really weird emails in my junk mail?

How can I unblock an email that MailMarshal has blocked?

How can I block email from a specific email address?

How can I make sure that email always comes through from a specific person?

Why is spam such a serious problem?

Since email doesn't require a stamp like regular mail does, people can send as many messages as they want without paying for it. They will send out millions of messages (most of the time automatically), which can cause email systems to process email slower. In addition to that, our systems that detect and delete spam messages also cause the message to be processed for even more time.

Aside from the issues of slowing down email servers, spam could also cause harm to your computer. Sometimes spam might come with a virus attached or link to a site that, when visited, will install spyware or viruses onto your computer.

How can I prevent getting spam?

Spammers (people who send spam), get people's email address a number of ways:
  1. Avoid using your email address when signing up for things that you don't trust on the Internet. When you submit a form with your email address on it, they might sell your address to a spammer and they will in turn sell it to other spammers.
  2. Do not forward chain messages. These messages usually come in the form of jokes or links to websites. The usually contain a lot of email addresses in them and spammers can get addresses from these messages.
  3. Do not respond to spam messages. Many spam messages say "please click here to be removed from our list." Do not click on this link. If you click on this link, it will usually notify the spammer that your email address is valid and it basically tells them that you can have the ability to get more spam messages. So, they will continue to send you emails. If you are on a legitimate mailing list and they have a link for you use to remove yourself from the list, then it is safe to use that link to remove yourself from the list.
  4. Outlook has a junk email function. If you would like more information about this, contact the Technology Department.
  5. We are also doing our best to block as much incoming spam messages as possible. But, this is a never ending battle that is constantly changing. Spammers are always looking for ways to get around spam filtering systems.
  6. Do not use your email account for personal use.
  7. Do not sign up on public mailing lists.
  8. Do not give your email address to anyone that may sell your email address.

How do I know if it is safe to open an attachment in my email?

The answer to this question is coming soon!