All email messages received from the Internet are processed by a system which uses a set of rules and other information to assign a "score" to the message, indicating how likely it is that the message is spam.
This score is not 100% reliable and you should be cautious when using it. Some messages which are spam may not be given a high score and escape detection. More seriously, it is possible that legitimate emails are scored with a high value.
When thinking about how you want to filter these messages, you should exercise caution - automatically deleting all spam for example is probably not a wise thing to do.
The "X-Spam-Score" Header
The score a message receives is put into an additional Internet header", called "X-Spam-Score:", on all incoming email messages. This header includes a number of + signs to show how likely it is that the message is spam.
X-Spam-Score: (++++++++) 8.4
When you view a message using Outlook 2010 you can see this header by opening the message and selecting File > Properties
The Message Options window opens and the Internet headers are shown in the lower pane of the window. You will need to scroll down the text in the pane to see the X-Spam-Score: heading and its value.
Creating a rule to filter spam in Outlook 2010
Outlook 2010 allows you to create rules which can automatically filter messages into different folders (as well as many other responses) based on information in each message. This can include the score we have assigned to the message.
- Go to File > Manage Rules & Alerts. This will display the Rules and Alerts window.
- Make sure that the E-mail Rules tab is selected and then click on the New Rule... button. This will open the Rules Wizard window.
- Select the option Start from a blank rule and ensure that Check messages when they arrive is selected. Then, click on the Next > button.
The rules wizard will then move onto a screen which allows you to choose the conditions you want to match before your rule is applied.
- In the upper pane labeled Step 1: Select conditions locate and check the box next to with specific words in the message header
- In the lower pane labeled Step 2: Edit the rule description click on specific words.
The "Search Text" window opens and you should enter (copy and paste is safest initially)
- In the upper pane labeled Step1: Select action(s) check the box next to move it to the specified folder
- In the lower pane labeled Step 2: Edit the rule descriptor click on the text specified
The Rules and Alerts window opens for you to choose a folder to receive any filtered messages. From here, you can either create a new folder or use an existing folder - you should have a folder already called Junk E-Mail which you can use to move these messages into. Select this and click on OK.
X-Spam-Score: (+++++It is important there is a space before the opening bracket and no spaces after the final + sign. To start with, we recommend you use the 5 + signs above.
Once you are comfortable with this and are familiar with how much spam is being filtered (and how much legitimate mail is being filtered out!) you may wish to either lower the score (to catch more messages) or raise it (to catch fewer). To do this, simply decrease or increase the number of + signs.
Click on Add, then OK, and then Next >. The rules wizard will then prompt you for the action to take when the rule is matched.