UMW Spam Filter

What is spam?

Some people and businesses indiscriminately send large amounts of unsolicited commercial e-mail (UCE), also known as “spam”, meant to promote a product or service. Spam is the electronic equivalent of junk “snail” mail sent to ‘Current Resident’.  In recent years spam content has expanded to include offensive advertising, malicious content, and computer viruses.

What steps has the University taken to reduce unwanted e-mail?

  1. Infrastructure Services maintains an enterprise spam classification system designed to allow easy filtering of unwanted content.  The system identifies messages that are most likely spam by tagging the subject lines of the messages with [SPAM?] and lets you control how you would like to deal with these messages.
  2. You can create a rule in your email account to automatically move the tagged messages to a particular folder (usually the “junk” folder). This will allow you to examine the emails for “false positives” or “false negatives” (explained below).

Will these spam options be available if I forward my e-mail to another address?

If you forward to a non address, e-mail identified by the system as spam will still be labeled as spam.

What steps can be used to keep my address safe?

  • Do not provide your e-mail address to any companies or web pages you do not trust.  It is a good idea to read their “privacy statement” as well to see how your contact information will be used.
  • Make sure your e-mail address doesn’t appear on any web pages (e.g. search the web for your address).
  • Start using spam filtering by following the instructions provided above.
  • Delete spam messages without reading them.  Many messages include web links to “phone home” to track active accounts.
  • Do not respond to removal links or reply with “remove” to these messages.  This is another technique used to verify e-mail addresses.

What if an email I receive is identified as spam, but it isn’t? What if I am getting spam that is not being identified?

False Positives are messages that are NOT spam but were classified as spam by the e-mail system.  These are very rare and usually are messages sent through electronic newsletters or to large numbers of recipients.
False Negatives are messages that ARE spam but were not classified as spam by the e-mail system.  People that send out spam are constantly looking for ways to get around spam filtering systems.  These are more common.

How do I report False Positives?

We are very concerned with False Positives and it is very easy to report these to us by e-mail at Place the words “False Positive” in the subject line along with the following information:

  • Sender and recipient e-mail addresses
  • Date and time the message was sent
  • Subject of the message

If the message is being forwarded to another address, we will need the info from your college email account, not the outside email system.

How do I report False Negatives?

To report a false negative first verify the message was not received because you were subscribed to an electronic newsletter. If the message is not sent to you because of an electronic newsletter subscription, you will need forward the e-mail to with the full spam message including the message headers. Simply forwarding the message does not allow us to collect enough information to correct the situation. Place the words “False Negative” in the subject line.

If the message is being forwarded to another address, we will need the info from your college email account, not the outside email system.

Where Do I Find Message Headers In My E-Mail?


  1. First double click on the message to open it.
  2. Go to the File tab.
  3. Choose the Properties button.
  4. You will need to copy and paste the headers into a new message and send it to