Some users have reported that messages they want to receive in their Inbox are sometimes being flagged as spam and going to the Known Spam folder. This is called a “false positive” when our spam filters mark a message as spam but you don’t consider it to be spam and want it to be delivered. There are several reasons this can happen. I’ll describe some of those and then describe a solution you can use to help us reduce the number of false positives.
Some common causes of false positives are:
- You have signed up for a mailing list or announcements from a bulk email sender (a company or organization), but many other users are reporting messages from that sender as spam using the “This Is Spam” button in Web Mail. When a sender has a bad reputation as reported by thousands of users, this can result in their messages being filtered for all users.
- A person that you correspond with may have a compromised computer that has become infected with a virus created by a spammer, and their computer is sending out thousands of messages unknown to that user. When that happens, that sender can get listed as a spammer and all their messages might start getting flagged as spam.
- In a few cases, regular message correspondence that is not spam might be incorrectly flagged because it has similarities to actual spam and gets caught by a filter. Your reports help to refine the filters to be more accurate.
If messages that you want to receive are being flagged as spam, please follow these steps and we’ll try to get it cleared up:
- In your spamBlocker settings, make sure the setting for “Delete Known spam immediately” is turned off. That allows you to save and view the messages that were marked as spam. To get to the setting, click on spamBlocker / Settings.
- When you get a message in the Known Spam folder that should not be there, select the message (or view it) and click the button for “This Is Not Spam”. That sends us a report of the problem.
- If after a couple of days, your report using “This Is Not Spam” did not seem to have an effect and the problem persists, then we’d like you to take an extra step to help us investigate it. Report the lastest false positive using “This Is Not Spam” and then also write a new message to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Provide us with the sender address for the messages that are still being caught in Known Spam, and also the Subject line that was in the last message you reported. This information will help us locate the report for investigation. Make sure you send it from the mailbox where the problem occurred.
If the problem persists, one drastic solution is to turn the spamBlocker level to Off. If you don’t get much spam in your mailbox, that might be a workable temporary solution. Doing that will cause all messages to go to your Inbox and nothing will get filtered.
Aside from EarthLink spam filtering, your own personal Blocked Sender List can also block messages from being delivered. Unlike the spamBlocker filter, which puts messages identified as spam into your Known Spam folder for your review, your personal Blocked Sender List prevents delivery entirely, and messages you block that way cannot be recovered. If you have inadvertently blocked a sender, you can edit your block list by clicking on spamBlocker / Blocked Sender List (or Preferences / Blocked Sender List). Before reporting a false positive as described above, please make sure you aren’t blocking the messages yourself.
One last thing – if you are using spamBlocker on the High setting, then messages from senders not in your Address Book are delivered to the Suspect Email folder. This is completely separate from the spam filtering that puts messages in Known Spam, so don’t confuse the two and only use the steps above when messages are delivered to the Known Spam folder.