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noclue 17 Jul 2019 08:26 AM

Spam protection
Seems I used to be able to enter specific words for FM to learn not to accept emails with those words in the subject line. Suddenly, I have been bombarded by 18-24 emails daily from seemingly urelated sources. But they all arrive at once, all have untraceable websites, and are nothing I would ever want to buy at all.("Male enhancement" products for a 72-year old female, for example. With this product come-on are also air conditioners, life insurance, beauty products, and wine.)

Should I step up my security to "aggressive?" Is there a place in Settings where I can specify words in the subject line? How do I assign a "score" to an email?

Mr David 17 Jul 2019 10:36 AM

The Rules section of your account is tailor made for the job you want to do.

In a web browser session of your account, open up the Settings screen. You can access it from the drop down box in the top left corner of the screen.

When at the Settings screen, the link to your Rules page is under the Customise heading. When in your Rules page, hit the New Rule button, and away you go. The parameters for making rules are more or less self explanatory.

Once made, rules can stay there permanently if you wish. Or they can be deactivated or deleted. My account has about twenty that have been there for yonks. Very occasionally I have to make a new one if spam sneaks through.

Regarding spam defence within one's account, your FM account has to learn what is and is not spam. When spam arrives at, say, your inbox, don't just delete it. It has to be reported using the Report Spam button located at the top bar of the Inbox screen. Reporting messages as spam will move them to your Spam folder. You have to open your Spam folder, select messages to delete, and permanently delete them. This action teaches the spam filter for your account what you regard as spam.

Returning to the Settings screen, you may need to modify the Spam Protection settings of your account. In my account, Protection Level is set to Custom, options as follows:
[checked] Reject messages from insecure servers
[checked] Move messages with a score of 5.0 or more to Spam
[unchecked] Permanently delete messages with a score of 10.0 or higher
[checked] Add score {SPAM XX.X} to subject when score is 5.0 or more

Option to 'Mark Spam as read' is [unchecked].

I leave the 'Permanently Delete' option unchecked just in case non-spam messages are incorrectly filtered to my Spam folder. These can be marked as not-spam and retrieved to your inbox.

With this setup spam rarely gets through to my inbox. However, I am very careful about giving out my email address to strangers online. You have to be careful with whom you give your preferred address out to, and you need to be diligent and consistent in your habits.

Fastmail users are blessed with other powerful tools in their accounts to defend against spam. Apart from options in the Settings screen mentioned above, my favourites are subdomain addressing and aliases.

Subdomain addressing provides a way to leverage the power of folders made in one's account.

Let's say your preferred FM address is: [email protected]

And let's say you've created a folder called 'shop', and that this parent folder has a child folder within it called 'ebay'.

With these folders made, all correspondence sent to you by eBay will be automatically filed to the 'ebay' subfolder of your 'shop' folder if the email address you give to ebay is:
[email protected]

Since I regularly make purchases from eBay, I made a separate top level folder for it, with a special child folder, and provided eBay with an address like this:
[email protected]
For related reasons, my 'ebay' folder has one other subfolder, 'paypal', to receive emails sent to:
[email protected]

Use of my 'shop' folder is much looser. It has no subfolders. But whenever I provide email credentials to an online business I make a unique email address for that business. For example:
-- [email protected]
-- [email protected]

Messages to these addresses are automatically filed to my 'shop' folder.

If I gave all online retailers the subdomain address [email protected], messages would also be filed to the 'shop' folder. But if a retailer website is compromised, I can't tell which site has gone bad. It is better to use a unique subdomain address.

To keep your inbox tidy you might do a similar thing for bills you regularly receive. Eg:
-- [email protected]
-- [email protected]

You get the drift.

Should a website you've supplied with a subdomain address be compromised, and its database of customer email addresses leaks into the hands of spammers, the subdomain address that has gone bad can be blocked in via your Rules screen. Pests begone, just like that.

Another defence FM provides for your spam armoury is alias addresses. Recently when making a FM support ticket, a message below the online ticket form said FM accounts are permitted to make 500 aliases. Some years ago, users at my account level were permitted only 3 aliases. With 500 permitted, unique email addresses can be made for every retailer, bill provider, questionable website sign-up, or what have you, that you care to make. If a unique address goes spammy, you can kill the alias address that is being abused.

In your FM account aliases are handled the same as your preferred FM email address. Mail addressed to aliases will arrive in your inbox. Aliases with subdomain addresses will be filed automatically to appropriate account folders. It's very neat.

FM's documentation for aliases is quite easy to follow. Ditto that for subdomain addresses.

Hope this helps.

noclue 17 Jul 2019 06:27 PM

Wow, Mr. David. Thanks for the time and energy you put into this post. The thing is, I guess you must think you're writing to someone who understands what you wrote!

When I go the the rules page, there are only three topics, and at the bottom is where I found "edit" and "customize." When I went to that page, I got the impression that I had to know code. :eek: I know nothing about code.

I use three main addresses, and even though I am diligent about "teaching" FastMail where things are supposed to go, emails rarely get sent to the right place. I checked the rule about where the newsletters and commercial dealings go, and they [b]are[b] set up properly. (Newsletters have always been a problem. Apparently, here in Texas some organizations just refuse to recognize FastMail. I can't ever get their newsletters with any FM address and have finally set up a Zoho account for many of them. What can I say? It's Texas.)

But as for the spam, I need to find that page where I can type in the exact words(without code) I want FM to completely reject. I never want them to come to me even as spam. I don't understand what a "score" is or how to assign one.

It's like one day someone opened a bizarre, kinky warehouse of unrelated products, and all of them send me multiple emails all at the same exact time. These emails are arriving in batches, not one or two trickling in. There are sometimes over 20 of them.

Mr David 17 Jul 2019 06:48 PM

OK, let's break this down, we'll go one step at a time.

For the kick off, open your FM account's Settings Screen.
In the left margin, click on the link labelled 'Spam Protection'.

When you're at that screen, at the top of the page you should see the heading 'Spam Protection'.

Beneath the 'Spam Protection' heading there's a subheading labelled 'Protection Level'.

Click on the button beside 'Custom'.
Having done that change the options as follows:

-- [Ticked] Reject mail from unsecure servers
-- [Ticked] Move messages with a score of 4.0 or higher to Spam
-- [Not Ticked] Permanently delete messages with a score of 10.0 or higher
-- [Ticked] Add score as {SPAM XX.X} to subject when the spam score is 5.0 or more

Post back to this thread when you've got that far.

xyzzy 17 Jul 2019 06:54 PM

Create a organize rule to do what you want. You do that by clicking the New Rule button at the top of the rules settings and filling in the desired information. You set one or more conditions and action to be performed if the conditions match each incoming message. For example move message to spam folder.

Read the following FM article on this topic:

How to organise your mail with rules

There's a FM blog article on this topic too.

Organise your mail with rules

noclue 18 Jul 2019 04:50 PM

You must have been a teacher, Mr. David. This is how to teach people who have EO issues ("easily overwhelmed" :D). I followed your directions, but I never found where to put "Add SpamXX.X." I have a picture of the spam protection page, but mine is a little bit different from what you describe. There doesn't seem to be a way to post it here for you to see.

Mr David 18 Jul 2019 05:04 PM


Originally Posted by noclue (Post 610848)
I never found where to put "Add SpamXX.X."

"Add score as {SPAM XX.X} ..." is a direct transcription of one of the options available when the 'Custom' option under 'Protection Level' is selected, the last option of four.

Have you selected the 'Custom' protection level?

noclue 18 Jul 2019 05:15 PM

When I tick "custom," that unticks "Reject mail from insecure servers." Is that supposed to happen?

Mr David 18 Jul 2019 05:37 PM


Originally Posted by noclue (Post 610850)
When I tick "custom," that unticks "Reject mail from insecure servers." Is that supposed to happen?

When 'Custom' protection level is selected, 'Reject mail from secure servers' is mandated. That is, there is no choice not to have it. The option has a hard tick beside it.

If that is what you're seeing, that is normal and expected.

With this option active, most of the offensive unsolicited mail you have been receiving will be blocked. This function will fix most of your spam hassles.

Returning to the options for 'Custom' protection level, only three of the four can be selected or unselected by the user, which is you.

It is preferable to untick the third option:
'Permanently delete messages with a score of 10.0 or higher'

Have you unticked that option?

When you've finished there should be:
--the first option with a hard tick
--the second option with a default tick
--the third option which you have unticked
--the fourth option with a default tick

Is that what you are now seeing?

noclue 18 Jul 2019 06:03 PM

Here's what I see under Spam Protection:

Left side - -

Protection level:
Off (Not ticked)
Standard (Not ticked)
Custom (Ticked)
Mark spam as read (Not ticked)

Right side - -
Reject messages.... (Hard tick)
Move message with score of 5 to inbox
Permanently delete...

I see no default ticks.

Mr David 18 Jul 2019 06:20 PM

When 'Custom' protection level (on the left side) is first opened, you should have seen (on the right side):
--first option hard ticked
--second option default tick
--third option default tick
--fourth option default tick

By default, I mean this is how the options are selected before you changed anything.

The only change I recommend you make to the default selections is to untick the third option.

After you've changed the third one, the right side should be as follows:
--first option hard ticked
--second option default tick (not changed by you)
--third option unticked (default tick removed by you)
--fourth option default tick (not changed by you)

Is that what it looks like now?

noclue 18 Jul 2019 06:36 PM

I guess so. I'm confused. I only have three choices, not four on the right and four on the left. If we're dealing with the stuff on the left, then we're good as I had already unchecked that box.

I have also been playing with the info mation that xxyyzz posted. I went to the offending spam in my trash, opened it, and checked on "more." Then I clicked on "remove" (big orange button) by the sender's email address and also by the subject line. I did not click "remove" by my email address. Is this overkill, or will it be lke another added layer of protection?

Mr David 18 Jul 2019 06:53 PM

I'd like you to go back and recheck the things I wrote in post #11 of this thread.

There are five options on the left. Only 'Custom' should be selected and highlighted.

With 'Custom' selected, on the right there should be two options selected (ticked) and one de-selected (unticked).

If that's how things are, then all good, you can close that screen.

Before you shift your attention to the information in the links posted by xyzzy (documentation for FM rules) it would be best to first coach you on the preferred way to move spam messages that have been delivered to your inbox.

Do you have any spam messages in your inbox now?

xyzzy 18 Jul 2019 07:02 PM

Wish I hadn't read this thread. :( I always have custom set and I was playing around a little with the values because it was said above they couldn't see the "Add score as {SPAM XX.X}". Mine was there, I thought enabled selectively by FM some time around when FM was disabling it for users because I submitted a ticket.

I changed a value clicked rules and then clicked back spam protection and it was gone. I refreshed the page and it came back. I repeated that sequence but this time I can't get it back. I now need to find that ticket I made back last January and reopen it and request they put it back for my account. Grrrr.

Mr David 18 Jul 2019 07:13 PM


Originally Posted by xyzzy (Post 610859)
Add score as [SPAM XX.X]. ... I can't get it back.


Good luck with your support ticket process.

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