Spam. A lot.
June 15, 2014 3:03 AM   Subscribe

Pretty straightforward...what's the best spam filter for Mac's Mail program?

My email address has gotten on a list somewhere and I get around 100 spam emails a day. It's the worst. For a while I would use Mail's Rules to teach the program to trash emails with certain words in the title but the spam is insidious, varying just enough to slip through day after day.

I've recently become aware that there are services you can sign up for that will filter your email in different ways. I'm having a pretty good experience with a free trial of SaneBox, which catches most of the spam, but I'm not going to pay $100/year for the service.

Are there freeware equivalents? Anyone got a better solution? I've heard about Mailstrom but I think it's also a paid service. Any suggestions welcome. Thank you!
posted by Bobby Bittman to Computers & Internet (14 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
I have my own domains for mail and the hosting companies all offer SpamAssassin through the cPanel control interface. I find that catches a lot and you can set it for whatever spam score you like. The lower the threshold, the more likely you are to get false positives and miss real mail. I had to turn it off on one domain recently and only then realised that viagra spam still exists.

I also use Mail on OS X and, whilst I don't get anywhere near as much spam as you, I do find that Mail's built in spam filter works well out of the box and also learns really well if you always mark spam as such, i.e., don't just delete it from your inbox, mark it using the junk mail button. That way you allow the filter to learn. You don't need to worry about writing your own rules for it. With that much spam it should learn very quickly.

This may not be practical for you, but if I had an email address that got this much spam I would abandon it.
posted by mewsic at 3:19 AM on June 15, 2014

I agree, sometimes the answer is a new e/mail address.

That said, I allow Gmail to filter my spam and I get very, very little....
posted by HuronBob at 3:23 AM on June 15, 2014

Response by poster: I can't, unfortunately, abandon this email address. All I want is for Mail's junk filter to be as effective as Gmail's!

That's a good idea about my hosting company...maybe they have something I can turn on for free. Will investigate.
posted by Bobby Bittman at 3:35 AM on June 15, 2014

SpamSieve is the best client-side tool, recommended by many pros I know. I've been using it for a few years. A $30 one time purchase. Nothing works better if all you have is client side access.
posted by spitbull at 4:20 AM on June 15, 2014 [1 favorite]

I can't, unfortunately, abandon this email address. All I want is for Mail's junk filter to be as effective as Gmail's!

If this is email on a custom domain, you could sign up for Google Apps (used to be free, now around $50 a year, depending on location) and keep the same email address.
posted by third word on a random page at 5:51 AM on June 15, 2014 [1 favorite]

2nd-ing SpamSieve. I've been using it for years and it works great.
posted by spilon at 7:19 AM on June 15, 2014

3rding SpamSieve. Wife's small business was getting hammered by 400+ spam emails per day. $30 purchase and about ten minutes "teaching" it (very easy to do) got her to almost zero spam. Plus, you get a 30-day trial period, though I was sold after only a couple days.
posted by jeff-o-matic at 7:33 AM on June 15, 2014

4th ing Spam Sieve.
posted by lackutrol at 9:43 AM on June 15, 2014

SpamSieve is great.
posted by dfriedman at 9:51 AM on June 15, 2014

Response by poster: Allllrighty then! Signing up for SpamSieve now. Thanks guys.
posted by Bobby Bittman at 11:32 AM on June 15, 2014

Why not just try the easiest stuff first.
Use the rules to move valid email to a folder like FilteredMail. Move all else
to spam. Your Inbox is always clear.
Check the spam folder and tweak your first rule appropriately.
Basically mimic the iOS VIP function.
If that fails, try what people are suggesting above.
posted by PickeringPete at 2:15 PM on June 15, 2014

OP: Can you come back here and post an update after using SpamSieve for a while? I'd love to know how it works out for you.

My solution has been to use gmail, setting up my domain's email address as an alias. I still get spam, but gmail sorts it into a spam folder, and I glance through that once every day or two to make sure nothing legit got caught by mistake.
posted by 2oh1 at 2:52 PM on June 15, 2014

Keep your email address and forward to Gmail. Nothing beats their spam filter.
posted by mmoncur at 5:52 PM on June 15, 2014

I do the "forward to Gmail" thing with one of my non-Gmail accounts. But if like some of us you'd rather not have all your personal email vetted by Google for the purpose of serving you advertising, that solution has its limits. After all, there is a reason I have more than one email account. And actually, I find SpamSieve's filters work just as well as Gmail once trained.
posted by spitbull at 3:11 AM on June 16, 2014

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