I have been using MailWasher for some time and it is a very good program. Until recently it only worked with POP3 accounts but the latest version 2.00 beta is now supposed to work with webmail.
MailWasher allows you to maintain a friends list and a blacklist. You can set it to auto-delete anything on your blacklist and this even extends to any mail coming from a specified domain. The corresponding mail will be deleted automatically as soon as MailWasher logs into your ISP's mail server.
A feature to be careful about using is the one that allow you to bounce back an email to a spammer, making it look as though your email address is no longer in use. Whilst this may seem like a good idea unless the email is bounced back immediately upon receipt you can give the game away. If you bounce back an email say 2 days after it was sent the spammer will know that it was delivered to a real address. Then you are likely to get more spam!
Aside from the auto-deletion facility the biggest bonus of the program is that you can see what is waiting for you on your ISP's mail server before downloading. This gives you the opportunity to delete anything that you don't like the look of. You can open an email to preview it before it is downloaded but this may not be safe if there is some form of malware waiting to be activated by such an action.
The other main defense against spam is to use disposable email addresses which forward email to your real address. These email "aliases" can be issued to others as and when required and can be subsequently turned off if you start getting spammed at a particular address. Further details can be found at... http://spam.abuse.net (see Tips and help for regular users)
Thanks to all of you who have replied to my post, your suggestions are very much appreciated.
Special thanks to Shiatsu for the very detailed reply. Thats a good tip about replying promptly to emails. I missed doing so while I was traveling during the past week. By the way, do you mean reply promptly after opening the email or after it was sent. In this current case, I wasn't here to open it.
Although Mailwasher works great, one thing I don't like is that it has to be manually launched when you first log on to the internet. It would be nice if it would deploy automatically when you log on to your ISP. It can be set to launch using the Windows XP Start Menu but then you have to click OK & minimize it each time. This takes more operations than manually launching it.
The best thing to do with spam is not to reply at all and that includes bouncing messages back to the spammer. Just delete the email and if you keep getting more spam from the same source use MailWasher to auto-delete the address/domain the mail is coming from.
If you get spammed from a lot of different addresses operating from the same domain you can tell MailWasher to blacklist the entire domain by addiing... *@[name of domain] to your blacklist option.
As I understand it if you have html enabled a spammer may even know that you have opened a message (just to have a look) if you do this whilst online - even though you subsequently delete the message. So I would suggest that you either tell MailWasher to delete it without opening the message or download it and then go offline before opening the email.
Ep, glad to see you come back and tidy up...did want to ask a one day favor, I want to enhance my resume , was hoping you could make me administrator for a day, if so, take me right off since I won't be here to do anything, and don't know the slightest about the board, but it would be nice putting "served administrator osnn", if can do, THANKS