July 17, 2003 at 8:38 PM EST - Updated September 26 at 5:56 PM
The first step to cutting down the junk mail--or spam--from reaching your inbox is as easy as following the rules. You can set them up in most e-mail programs, including Microsoft Outlook and Outlook Express. Under the "tools" tool bar will be something dealing with rules--like "rules wizard" or "message rules" where you can set up a list of criteria to block out of your inbox and send it to the deleted items box. Those criteria can be e-mail domains, specific e-mail addresses, or keywords to look for in the message or subject line. The process isn't fool-proof and some spam messages could and probably will still slip by, but you may notice a reduction in the junk reaching your inbox. There are also several web sites that offer spam protection at a cost, but most of those do offer a free trial period.