Junking “You’ve received … ” spam

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How to remove the current plague of spam alleging “You’ve received a … “

Many people have been getting the latest incarnation of spam – messages with a subject starting with “You’ve received a” followed by a mix of alleged message types and affiliation group.

These spams started with things like:

“You’ve received a message from a family member”

But has now evolved into other forms such as:

“You’ve received a greeting card from a fellow worshipper”

and so on.

The Junk email filter for Outlook 2003 and Outlook 2007 hasn’t been updated to cope with these new arrivals … yet. In the meantime it gives us a practical example of how to setup Outlook to deal with these intruders. Along the way we’ll see some limitations in Outlook’s Rules.

We’re going to create a rule to move messages with a particular subject line to the Junk Email folder. That’s the only consistent part of these spam messages (the fake senders name and address regularly change) that can be used to make a rule.

You could make a rule that stops all messages with a subject that starts with “You’ve received a ” but that does run the risk of trapping a legitimate message. As we’ll see you can make an exception for a rule for known email senders.

The solution is to make a rule covering the current permutations such as:



  • You’ve received an ecard from a
  • You’ve received a greeting card from a
  • You’ve received a greeting ecard from a
  • You’ve received a greeting postcard from a
  • You’ve received a postcard from a

The above list has served us well for the last week, but might need addition over time.

UPDATE: just a day later a new version of the spam has arrived with the subject:



  • I SENT YOU AN ECARD FROM

In Outlook (2003 or 2007) go to Tools | Rules and Alerts | New Rule then choose ‘Move messages with specific words in the subject to a folder’ which starts a wizard.

Enter the partial subject lines listed above:

Suggested subject line rules image from Junking "You

 

Change the specified folder (the destination folder) to the Junk E-mail folder.

The next part of the wizard lets you choose exceptions to the rule. Here we’d like to see an exception for ‘All users in my Contacts list” which would act like the similar option in Outlook’s own Junk E-mail filter – but alas Microsoft hasn’t implemented this obvious and internally consistent option. You can choose individual users as ‘Safe Senders’ for a particular rule but not everyone in the Contacts list at the time the rule is used.

Click on Finish or go to the last step where you can choose to run the rule on the current Outlook folder.

Eventually this rule should be superseded by an update to the Junk Email filter from Microsoft.


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