The official home of It's Geek to Me on the web!

Issue #515: June 4-10, 2017

Q: My wife’s computer is an HP Notebook, with 64 bit system, using Internet Explorer 11. She can not receive free recipes from Taste of Home, Southern Living, etc, or emails from the Church. We have discussed this problem with CenturyLink email, but received no help. There are no error messages. The emails do not come through. Can you give me a clue as to where to start with this problem?

– Irwin W.
Shalimar, Florida

A: Why, yes! Yes I can, Irwin.  The clue that you’re seeking is the word SPAM.  Now that is only a clue, because if they are being trapped as SPAM, I cannot tell you with any certainty at what point along the route the e-mails are being stopped.  However, based on the information in your e-mail, it seems to me almost certain that a SPAM filter is capturing these messages before they ever make it to your wife’s inbox.

So, why would I make such a claim?  Well, several reasons.  First of all, even though you didn’t explicitly say so, your message to me implies that you’re able to receive e-mail from other addresses.  Second, I’m trusting that the person you talked to at CenturyLink checked to make sure that e-mails from the domains that you listed are not being blocked by CenturyLink’s mail server (occasionally, domains get black-listed if they are not proactive about keeping illicit activity, such as bulk e-mail transfers, from being done through their site).  Third, and most important, all the places you listed as problematic have reasons to send their messages as bulk e-mails via a group lists.  When this is done correctly, the names of all the other recipients of the e-mail are masked, so as not to give away everybody’s e-mail address to every other recipient of the e-mail. The simplest way to accomplish that is to enter all the recipients’ names into the e-mail software’s BCC: field instead of the CC: field.  While this works, it also triggers many SPAM filters, since using the BCC: field is a common technique that spammers use so that they can reach dozens or even hundreds of mailboxes by sending only a single e-mail.

Let’s assume for a moment that the e-mails are being intercepted by a SPAM filter.  That can happen in one of two places; either as the e-mails are being processed by CenturyLink’s e-mail server, or on your local machine, which would require you to have a SPAM filter turned on in whatever software you use to read and send e-mail.  This is called your e-mail client software, and would be something like Windows Mail, Outlook, or Thunderbird.  I would hope that if you have a SPAM filter installed in your e-mail client, that you would know about it, and how to check it to see if it’s blocking desirable e-mails.

Whether you use a client, or use webmail exclusively, there is also a user-adjustable SPAM filter built into CenturyLink’s server.  Click over to, which links to a page on CenturyLink’s support site.  It contains information on managing several aspects of your CenturyLink e-mail account, including setting the SPAM filter.


Note that in today’s answer to Irwin, I mentioned masking e-mail addresses so you don’t expose everybody’s e-mail to everybody else in a group e-mail.  You may not think of them this way, but an e-mail address is private information, and should be given the same care and consideration that you would give to a phone number.  Hopefully, you wouldn’t simply pass-around a list of people’s names and phone numbers to a bunch of strangers, but many people don’t give a second thought to doing the same thing with e-mail addresses.  When creating a group e-mail, you should always use the BCC: field, so that each recipient sees only his or her own e-mail address.  If you forward a group e-mail, and the originator was clueless enough not to send it properly, you should remove the list of names and addresses that show up in the quoted e-mail body.  Every little bit helps!

Leave a Reply

June 2024

Search the site


Copyright Notice

All content on this site is Copyright © 2007-2024 by Jeff Werner – All rights reserved.