Manage Spam and Unwanted Email

Help Scout has its own built-in spam filter to save you the headache of having to sift through spammy emails and auto replies in your mailbox. This article talks about how the Help Scout spam filter works. 

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How the Spam Filter Works

The Help Scout spam filter learns over time based on your actions. When you mark a conversation's status as Spam, we'll send future conversations from that particular sender to the spam folder automatically, for up to 50 emails from that sender. We'll stop delivering their emails to your mailbox at all after that. 

On the flip side, when you move a conversation out of the spam folder, future conversations from that sender will not go to Spam. 

  • To mark a conversation as spam, simply open the conversation and change the status to Spam
  • To remove a conversation from the spam folder, open the conversation and select the Not Spam option from the status menu. 

You don't want to mark email that isn't really spam — auto-replies or notifications, for example — as spam because that will train the spam filter that the sender shouldn't be trusted and the sender can end up blocked. Delete those conversations, or use Automatic Workflows to sort or delete them instead of marking legitimate email as spam.

Note: If you find that a legitimate email address has been marked as Spam and has crossed the 50 email threshold, add the address to your Allow list to resume receiving emails from that sender.

A note about form submission emails

An email that comes from a form on your website — a contact form, a sales lead form, etc. — is a little different than regular email. If you're getting spam submissions on your form, the spam filter is less likely to catch those emails from the form. This is because the headers of the email (the backend bits of emails) will identify your form as the source of the email which means it doesn't carry tell-tale signs of spam that regular emails do. 

Your best bet if you're seeing a lot of form spam is to check with your form app or your developer to enable spam protection on your web form (e.g., a CAPTCHA that makes sure only humans are submitting your form). Marking form submission emails as spam in Help Scout will not stop spammers from submitting your forms.

Empty the Spam Folder

We recommend checking in on your Spam folder on a regular basis. We check our own at least once a day! While we place a high level of trust on our spam filter, there's no such thing as one that's 100% accurate, so it's still possible for real email to end up in that Spam folder. A quick scan through allows you to catch those and mark them as Not Spam to train the filter. After scanning the folder, it's a good idea to go ahead and empty it then, making it easier to scan through the next time. 

A trash can icon appears where the folder count was previously in the left sidebar when you click into the Spam folder. Just click that trash can to empty the spam folder. Deletion from the Spam folder is permanent and there is no Undo, so keep that in mind as you're working! 

Note: Conversations are automatically purged from the Spam folder 30 days after the last action on that conversation. The automatic purge deletion is also permanent. Make scanning your Spam folder a regular activity to ensure you don't miss any conversations!

Allow or Block Specific Senders

The Allow and Block options allow you to accept or reject email from specific senders regardless of other spam filtering information. Administrators and Account Owners can access the spam settings from Manage > Company > Content Filtering

  • Allowed — Messages from addresses or domains in the allowed list are never sent to Spam. If you’re noticing legitimate emails caught in the Spam folder, add the email address, domain, or IP address to the allowed list.
  • Blocked — Messages from addresses or domains in the blocked list will never show in your main mailbox folders but go to Spam automatically. If you repeatedly notice spam in your mailbox from the same sender, add the email address to the blocked list.

Formatting

The Allowed and Blocked fields will accept three different values:

  1. A full email address (mark@domain.com)
  2. A domain only (@spamdomain.com)
  3. An IP address (192.168.0.100)

For example, we want to make sure all of Mark’s emails make it through, so we’ll add mark@domain.com to the Allowed list. 

If we also want to make sure messages from everyone at Mark’s company come through, we would just add @domain.com to the Allowed list. That would include Mark and anyone else with an @domain.com email address. 

Auto Reply Filter

To keep your mailbox nice and tidy, our auto reply filter discards automatically generated auto-reply emails — such as "out of office" messages — before they hit your mailbox. The default for this filter is On, but you can disable it at any time from your Company Settings. Head over to Manage > Company > Content Filtering, then toggle Auto Reply Filter off.

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