Eliminating Spam


Original poster
Aug 28, 2014
I've gotten a lot of spam over the past several weeks. I tried setting up a rule that allowed only my contacts and past recipients in my inbox, the rest go to spam.

Only it's not working. Spam is still going to my inbox. Does anyone have a suggestion or better way of doing it?

I even tested a bunch of different situations by sending a test email to myself from a random website, and it still shows up in my inbox. I'm on Yosemite latest beta. Maybe it's just not setup yet.


macrumors newbie
Jun 11, 2013
I don't know which email client you have, but....

If you're serious, and want the loneliest spam folders on the internet, you'll have to start over.

Read the following over a couple times and see if it makes sense:

99.99999% of the spam problem comes from "woodpeckers", spammers with automated programs who change their addresses, domains, and IP addresses so that traditional blockers and blacklists don't stop them.

The problem is not Bed, Bath, and Beyond selling our email addresses to so called partners such as Fishing Tackle, Sporting Goods, and Beyond. They obey the unsubscribe instruction.

The problem is the veritable roulette wheel of ever changing fake addresses that spammers toss out into cyberspace each day with the same old messages. Over and over again.

If we nail the woodpecker, we solve our problem.

Zero tolerance is the policy, and my spam folders are the loneliest on the internet...literally!

Here's what I've been doing after starting over with fresh accounts:

I have 4 webmail accounts whose logins are managed by the LastPass password manager. They are Outlook webmail, GMail. and 2 AOL webmail accounts.

All have scrambled usernames that are little more than extensions of the webmail password; they're for log in purposes only and are never used to send mail. Usernames like Larry007 and Mary2014 are not used. Rather, something like t9W4x?Bt@gmail.com is used to foil brute force dictionary attacks to crack the username and pair it off with all the best known webmail domains.

We send mail only from the alias email addresses we establish in Outlook webmail. Outlook's primary username is considered an alias by Outlook and can also be deleted if necessary, provided there is at least one alias address left (don't delete your account!). And even the alias usernames are scrambled. However....it's obvious that our personal contacts are not going to like t9W4x?Bt@outlook.com, so we put our first name up front, plus one other word...and then scramble it to foil the dictionary attacker.

For example: Judy has a boyfriend named Jeff. She gives him an exclusive alias address like judyjefft9W4x?Bt@outlook.com. Should the address ever become compromised somehow, she sends him a new one to copy and paste into his Contact list, one that changes the second word and the random string, such as judyjeffreyx5t7%zJw@outlook.com. Jeff sees that jeff is now jeffrey and easily distinguishes the new from the old without having to examine the random string. He copies the new one to Contacts. Thanks to his webmail's dropdown menu, Jeff never has to actually type Judy's email address when composing a message to her.

Alias addresses give us absolute veto power over any woodpecker that might get hold of the alias address. We simply delete it and issue a new one if necessary. This veto power is post-emptive or after the fact; but it is absolute.

The GMail/AOL trinity is different. It gives us pre-emptive veto power. It works like this:

GMail has mail fetchers that fetch mail from each of 2 AOL webmail accounts. Aol has the only blocker on the internet that is worth using. The Exclusive Blocker. The AOL accounts are used for initial registrations only. We don't send mail from them.

The Exclusive Blocker does not look for an address to reject; it looks for an address to accept. It accepts mail only from the AOL Contacts list. Another setting below the Blocker setting allows the choice of sending the blocked mail to the spam folder or blocking it at the server. This latter option keeps it out of AOL's spam folder, as well as out of AOL's inbox.

However, the Exclusive Blocker has one weakness. Spoofing.

If a spammer can guess any of our contacts and pretend to be that contact in the "From" field of his message, he will land right in our inbox. And all he has to assume is that the user pays his bills online. He then programs all of the billing addresses of every credit card company, every bank, every auto insurance company, every phone and utility company, into his automated spam program and pairs it off with AOL.com, and he's in.

We can stop him by setting up the second AOL webmail and populating it only with trusted, but spoofable, contacts, such as our banks and the others mentioned above. We keep them separate from the AOL 1 webmail where there may be some possibility of someone there selling our scrambled AOL 1 email address. The AOL 2 contacts won't do that.

Now we set up mail 2 fetchers in GMail to fetch mail from the 2 AOL webmail accounts. With these fetchers we can direct the AOL 1 mail to the inbox folder and the AOL 2 monthly bills to a GMail folder we've created, such as "bills" or A-Monthly. Or we can fetch it all to GMail's inbox.

Note that the 2 AOL webmail accounts are little more filter/blockers. We spend most of our non-social time in GMail, whose scrambled username, once again, is never used to send mail.

To see how it works, imagine a hypothetical user who plays the horses. He subscribes to various advisory newsletters who give him recommendations of horses to bet on at various tracks around the country. These newsletters cover a wide range of ethics, some respecting the user's privacy, some not.

He has 20 newsletters in AOL 1. One of them, abchotponies@yahoo.com sells his address to xyzevenhotterponies@yahoo.com. XYZ is a woodpecker. He has a roulette wheel of changing return addresses. He is also a spoofer. He has another roulette wheel of spoofed banks, auto insurance companies, etc.

He launches the first wheel and AOL 1's Exclusive Blocker scrutinizes the spammer's "address of the day" and finds no address in AOL 1 Contacts to match it. Next day, different fake address from the wheel, same result. The XYZ spammer is blocked and left in cyberspace.

Then he launches the second wheel with the banks, etc., and AOL 1's blocker again finds no address in AOL 1 Contacts to match the address submitted by the wheel that day. Or the next day. Or the next. Again the spammer is blocked and left in cyberspace.

Why? Because the banks, etc are in AOL 2. XYZ needs 3 things to barge into this user's webmail. He needs the username, a user Contact address, and a webmail common to both. He has AOL 1's username, AOL 2's Contact(s), but no common webmail. He can't get in. Unless he spoofs abchotponies, the one who sold him the AOL 1 username and address in the first place. He won't do that.

So....to summarize: the GMail AOL trinity is used for non-social daily and periodic business and gives us absolute, pre-emptive veto power over woodpecker spammers by way of scrambled usernames, AOL's Exclusive Blocker, and the bulletproofing of that blocker by separating ethics-challenged Contacts in AOL 1 from trustworthy, but spoofable, Contacts in AOL 2. The mail is gathered in one place by the 2 GMail fetchers.

Outlook aliases are used to send mail and they allow for receiving mail from people we don't know; old classmates trying to find us on facebook where we've posted an alias that can be deleted if necessary. All social mail, commerce, and anything potentially fishy is handled with aliases; indeed, all sending of any mail is from aliases. (Alias mail can also be fetched to GMail).

The trinity of Gmail and the two AOL accounts keeps us from spending too much time deleting and creating alias addresses in Outlook. Our regular non-social business is covered by the Exclusive Blocker. Our newer business and social business is covered by the aliases.

I'm going on 3 years now using this system. The difference is night and day! No aggravation, none of the stress that comes when someone has control over you. This approach doesn't "fight" spam, or "reduce" it. It keeps us under the radar, where the woodpecker spammer can't find us....and thus eliminates it!

Read this over a couple of times and adapt it to your situation. You may even be able to simplify it.
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