About junk e-mail protection

Outlook has a built-in junk mail filter that helps separate junk e-mail — also called spam — from legitimate messages. By default, the level of junk e-mail protection is set to low, which filters only the most obvious junk mail messages. You can increase the level of protection, but the filter may classify some legitimate messages as junk mail. Check the Junk E-mail folder regularly to make sure that it doesn't contain any legitimate messages.

When the filter finds a message that appears to be junk, Outlook does the following:

  • Moves the message to the Junk E-mail folder for that account.
  • Assigns the message to the Junk category.
  • Blocks any embedded pictures in the message. In some cases, downloading the pictures in a mail message lets the sender know that your mail address is active. If a junk mail sender knows that your address is active, you are more likely to receive additional junk mail from that sender.

To help make the filter more effective, you can do the following:

 Important   If you configure the Mailing List Manager to process and move messages to other Inbox folders, the junk mail filter will not process these messages.

Outlook also helps protect you from phishing (pronounced "fishing"). Phishing is an online fraud technique that uses mail messages and Web sites that mimic well-known and trusted brands. Though they seem to be from legitimate organizations, phishing messages and Web sites try to trick you into disclosing personal information, such as account numbers and passwords.

 Important   Web addresses in phishing messages can be masked to look like the addresses of legitimate sites. Rather than clicking a link in a mail message, it is safer to type the Web address that you know to be correct into the Address bar in your browser.

To help protect against phishing, Outlook displays a warning to beware of links in suspected junk mail messages. You should click the link only if you are certain it will take you to a legitimate Web site.

For more information about junk mail and phishing, visit the Microsoft Safety and Security Center.


See also

Label a message as "junk" or "not junk"

Customize junk e-mail protection

The wrong amount of e-mail is sent to Junk E-mail

Help protect your privacy

Applies to:
Outlook for Mac 2011