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What is SPAM and how to protect yourself from it

Last updated: March 13, 2017

Spam is unsolicited junk email. It is not only annoying, but can be offensive, very often carries viruses that can damage your computer, and almost always involves some kind of fraud.

The people who generate spam (spammers) do their best to make spam look like legitimate email, which makes it difficult for Virgin Media to block all spam without inadvertently blocking email legitimately addressed to you.

However, Virgin Media has installed state-of-the-art technology to protect you by filtering as much suspected spam as possible out of your email by default. You can find out more information about other spam filtering options in our article on Changing SPAM settings in Virgin Media Mail. These settings will apply even if you collect your email via an email program.

We also filter all email viruses out of your Virgin Media email. However, you can get computer viruses from other sources like websites, disks or other email services, so it is essential that you also have anti-virus software on your computer.

Sometimes you may get emails claiming to come from Virgin Media that are actually phishing attempts, for more information on phishing please see What is Phishing?

Where does spam come from?

Spam comes to the UK from all over the world, especially from the US and the Far East, but also from within the UK. The programmers who create spam make money from people who visit the websites, purchase the products advertised, or fall victim to other related scams.

Some viruses can also hijack a user's computer and use it to send spam to others whose email addresses it finds in the user's address book.

Virgin Media Mail won’t normally treat marketing emails, newsletters and circulars to mailing lists, customer information bulletins and billing emails as spam, even though they may sometimes be annoying, and most responsible senders allow you to opt out of receiving them if you wish.

How to deal with spam

Once you've identified an email as spam, it's best to just delete it, and delete it again in your "Deleted Items" folder. Never reply to it, act on it, or try to unsubscribe from it. Trying to unsubscribe will alert spammers to the fact that your email address is in use, and will almost certainly make the problem worse.

How to avoid spam

It is difficult for Internet service providers to block all spam, and while we filter suspected spam out of your Virgin Media Mail by default, you may still want to use dedicated mail filtering software as a further line of defence.

Be careful where you use your email address online. Virgin Media allows you to use up to 10 email addresses, so you could use one for personal emails and a separate one for public websites, online accounts, newsletters, mailing lists, online forums, newsgroups, chat-rooms, logins, and so on. These are much more likely to receive spam as unsecured web connections or websites can be used by spammers to collect email addresses.

What if I don't use webmail? Am I still protected from spam?

Yes. Even if you just access your mail via Outlook Express or any other email program, we will still automatically delete all spam before it reaches your inbox unless you change those settings within webmail. You only need to log on to webmail if you wish to change your spam settings. To log on to webmail you just need your email address and username.

What if I have my own spam filtering software?

It will still work, but we are using state of the art technology to identify and filter out spam, so you may not need to pay for anti-spam software. Virgin Media's spam filtering should do the job for you. In the event that some spam does get through our filters, your own software will still work as normal.


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