Metronet No nonsense Broadband. Straight up.  
Home Broadband Help & Support Member Centre  
Help > Security > Spam Protection
Spam Protection

An introduction to dealing with the increasingly common problem of spam email.

Spam is an increasingly common problem. By targeting individual users, spammers have made these unwanted mail messages a time-consuming nuisance.

What is spam?
Spam is the electronic version of 'junk' mail. Spammers flood the Internet via multiple copies of adverts, usually promoting dubious products and get-rich-quick schemes, of no real value.

Why is it a problem?
By clogging up email servers spam leads to delays in the delivery of legitimate emails. The delivery of these unwanted emails forces users to waste time sorting through their mailboxes for authentic emails.

Note: we cannot be held responsible for the spam that you receive. If you need help with dealing with spam, either try our pay-for service
Port995 , or if you don’t want to pay for spam-filtering try Mozilla Thunderbird which has built in spam analysis and filtering.

Hints to avoid spam
There are several simple things you can do to avoid being spammed. Our guide tells you about some of these and what you should be aware of.

Concealing your email address
One of the favourite tools of spammers are spiders. These work in a similar way to a search engine spider which trawls the Internet and catalogues content. A spammer's spider simply logs all the email addresses it finds on the Internet. This means that if you are posting your email address in a public place it is very likely to be catalogued.

The best and most obvious way to stop this is to conceal your email addresses, however this is not always practical. A good tip is to represent your email address in a different way. E.g. you could show '' as:

  • john (dot) smith (at) mydomain (dot) com

This is applicable for USENET (newsgroups), public mailing lists, web based chat forums and your own personal website.

Common names added to domains
A favourite spamming technique is to take a domain address and add a common name infront (e.g. 'frank', 'mary', etc), forming an email address. This means you could still receive spam, even if you have kept your email address completely private.

You can stop this by making your email address more wordy and/or more specific to yourself by including your surname (e.g. '' rather than ''). This makes it harder for spammers to work out an address to spam.

The 'catch-all' email address
If you use 'catch-all' email addresses, you increase the risk of receiving a larger amount of spam. The simple solution is to try and avoid catch-all accounts, unless you want to use 'throw-away' email addresses.

'Throw-away' email addresses
There are two forms of 'throw-away' email address:

Free email accounts
Can be used when you need to sign up to certain services which require a valid contact email address. Any spam that is sent to that address will have to be deleted manually.

Email forwarding
An effective method is to use a service like Just-the-Name for email forwarding. Create a catch-all email address, but then also create other addresses e.g. '' (where '-' is a keyword you make up. This helps to identify where a spammer got your email address from). If spam starts being sent to that address you can then take action against the spammer, plus forward the email to a completely made up account, (e.g. ''), so you will never receive spam to that address again.

Did this support article help you?
If not, get further help using Contact Us.
Search Support
Contact Us
Get Online Help from the Customer Support team

Tel: 0845 140 0083
or 0345 140 0200

Fax: 0870 703 8549

Sheffield Digital Campus,
1a Concourse Way,
S1 2BJ