Spam filters are run automatically by service providers and stop the vast majority of spam before it ever reaches your account. A further amount of spam is recognised by the email provider and sent to the junk folder. Very little makes its way to your inbox.

As good as this is for preventing spam reaching us, the automated nature of spam filtering means it relies on algorithms and rules to decide if an email is spam. This can result in a false positive if an email which isn’t a spam email is sent in a way which makes it look like a spam email. 

Key features that may make an email look like a spam email are:

  • Sending to multiple contacts (i.e. over ten)
  • Including links to websites in the body of the email
  • Including key words such as “Viagra” or the use of offensive language
  • Sending from a computer that the network does not trust
  • Using HTML code or java script in the email
  • Sending using 3rd party web based mail systems (e.g. Gmail or Hotmail) to send University email.
  • Using ALL CAPS in an email, for more than the occasional word.
  • Using highly formatted text, especially with coloured headings.
  • Using background graphics or logos.
  • Phrases associated with 'sales patter' (e.g. Hot Deal, Special Offer, etc.).


The most common reason why a user’s legitimately send emails are flagged as spam is because they are sent to a large list of recipients. This happens when people try to send a newsletter or departmental update to a society or department list from their account.

If you do need to send mass messages to a list of users, the university can create mailing lists of the users that you need to contact that will allow you to send emails to this list whenever you need to and to manage who is added to the list as you go. Mailing lists are free and administered by ISS. For more information, see LU mailing lists service.