You can buy anti-spam software until you are broke. How well does some of it work?

Why Anti-Spam software usually does not work.

1 method Anti-spam software usez is wrd filtrin. Humns cn read almst anythng withut hving the corect speling. The spammers knw this all tu well whch is Y you get the email tryng 2 sell U \ /iagra or Ci@lis but the anti-spam software is blockin the latest Bob Dole joke.

Many ISPs use commercial anti-spam software products that use blocking lists. Some block email coming in from any site on the list, some block email going out to any site on the list. Unfortunately, these lists are assembled using the domains the spammers have stolen and are using in the spoofed "From:" field.

Every ISP seems to have a different approach to dealing with spam. This in and of itself is a BIG part of the problem. There is no unified stand on dealing with the problem and until that happens, ISPs who haphazardly implement anti-spam solutions are doing nothing more than contributing to the problem.

The biggest problem with your ISP trying to be spam cop is when they use these bogus lists, screw up or set the filters too high, legitimate email traffic gets blocked. You have no control over it.

Oftentimes, when commercial anti-spam software blocks email it issues invalid error messages like "recipient not found" or "disk quota exceeded". Or it may not return any error messages at all. So you call your ISP and complain your emails are not going through. "Aunt Melba sent me something and I never got it", or "she got an error message saying my account does not exist", or "I sent something and she never got it". This doesn't help you or your ISP in determining what the real problem is. (But then again, it is not in the best interests of the commercial anti-spam software vendors to give anyone any indication that they're involved.)

Another problem with anti-spam software is that many products use the IP blocking method. Anyone with half a brain can look up a domain's IP address. But spammers always spoof the domain name in the "From:" field. To find out where spam is REALLY coming from takes the extra effort of digging down into the email headers. The anti-spam software vendors are notoriously too lazy or too inept to do this. So, they just assemble the easiest blocking lists they can and ship it with their products. They do not care if only 1% of the IP addresses in their blocking lists are actual spam sources. To them, the bigger the list, the better. To make matters worse, suppose they find a suspected spam source at (each number can be in the range of 0-255). They will block every IP in the range of through That's 250+ other domains that can potentially get blocked just because of one domain in the range.

Making matters even worse is that the people who assemble these lists do not like to remove entries. An ISP can't get its IP address off the list even if it never should have been on the list.

So when an anti-spam software vendor claims "We have the BIGGEST blocking lists", it really translates to, "you'll be lucky if you can send or receive email from anyone after we've made our money."
The bottom line is that companies that sell anti-spam products to you or your ISP do not care how much they screw up or block your internet experience. They do not care if you can send or receive legitimate email. As long as they "block something" and can make a profit, they are happy.
There are a number of open-source email clients that are free that offer anti-spam solutions built in. At least when you use these (and providing that your ISP isn't using some over-zealous anti-spam software), you are the one in control. The downside is that you may have to be more actively involved in setting it up and keeping it updated.

The simplest way to deal with spam is to arrow down through the inbox and hit the "Delete" key. If no one opened spam or any questionable email, it wouldn't be profitable for the slime who send it.

U.S. victims of Internet fraud schemes should file complaints online with the Internet Crime Complaint Center, a joint project of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the National White Collar Crime Center, at Victims of telemarketing fraud should contact the Federal Trade Commission's Consumer Sentinel, at