Spam Management

NOTE: Genuine email from ITS will never end up in your Quarantine!

Spam Blocking FAQ

How does spam blocking work?

Swarthmore College uses a service, managed by Google, to monitor and block the majority of spam before it is delivered to your Inbox. All Swarthmore email accounts are automatically enrolled in the spam blocking service (if you create an email alias, please contact the Help Desk to have it enrolled in the service). You will receive a daily Quarantine Summary listing the quarantined messages that this service has blocked for you, if any.  In addition, this daily Quarantine Summary will include emails that were delivered to your Inbox.  The daily Quarantine Summary is split into two sections listing any quarantined messages first followed by delivered emails.  You can also have an updated Quarantine Summary report sent to you on demand by clicking "Click here to receive an updated summary..." at the bottom of the most recently received Quarantine Summary email.

Note that Gmail users will not receive a daily Quarantine Summary nor will Gmail users have access to the message center.

How do I retrieve a legitimate message?

If you have quarantined messages, you will receive a Quarantine Summary report each evening. If you see a legitimate email message in the list of quarantined emails, click on the 'Deliver' link in the rightmost Action column. The message will be delivered to your Swarthmore email inbox and you can read it there. Note that the message will have the date it was sent, NOT the date/time you released it, so you may need to scroll through messages in your inbox to find the message.  Conversely, if you see a message in the Quarantine Summary report that was delivered but that you consider to be spam, you can click on the 'Report spam' link in the rightmost Action column.

If you don't want to wait for the daily report, you can access the Message Center directly, at any time, from a browser at:

To log in if you're not already logged into Swatmail, Swatfiles, etc., access the Message Center where you will see a blue button labeled "Sign in through".  Click the blue button and enter your Swarthmore username and email password on the next page. After logging in, you may choose to 'delete forever' or 'deliver' messages detected as spam (if you delete an email "forever", you can't bring it back). To read a message, click on it directly or check the adjoining box and click the 'Not spam (deliver)' button to have it delivered to your Inbox.  There is also a link on the left side of the page to look at delivered emails.  If you feel that any of the delivered emails were spam, you can check the adjoining box and click the 'Report spam' button. 

Over time, the Google spam filter will be trained by what you personally consider to be spam.  (Note that this approach is used rather than having to maintain approved or blocked sender lists)

How long are messages stored?

Quarantined (or blocked) messages are stored for 30 days. You can optionally delete them by checking the box next to each message and clicking "Delete forever", or if you do nothing with them they will automatically be purged after 30 days.

I'm still getting junk mail, can I change my settings?

Google's spam filter is influenced by individual user preferences.  If junk mail is still getting through, or too many legitimate messages are being blocked, you can tune the spam filter by marking delivered emails as spam (clicking 'Report spam' in the Message Center or Quarantine Summary) or marking quarantined emails as not spam (clicking 'Deliver' in the Message Center or Quarantine Summary).

Some Tips for using the Message Center:

  • If you receive a "forbidden error" when trying to access the Message Center, make sure you're not already logged into a personal Gmail account in the same browser.
  • If you get a blank page after logging in, try refreshing your browser or use Chrome to access the Message Center.