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Inconsistent Spam filtering

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Inconsistent Spam filtering

Both my wife and I have Comcast email addresses set up on my Xfinity account.  We both have email sent to Outlook on our (different) PCs.

 

This month, Xfinity has flagged as spam several legitimate emails sent to me.  However, my wife received these same emails.  (That's how I knew to log in to webmail to look for them.)  They were sent to a group from the domain of our church, and we are in the BCC list.

Why does the filter think these are spam for my email address but not for my wife's?  I have tried clicking the "not spam" button but it happened again today.  However, in between the earlier occurrence and today's, I have received several emails from that domain in the same way with no problem.

 

And also today, I noticed the exact opposite problem.  Xfinity correctly caught a spam email sent to my address, but let the same email be delivered to my wife.  (Not the same sender as the problem above; this was from a gmail user friend whose account apparently got hacked.)

 

I don't understand why this should be happening.  If Xfinity has no 'whitelist' function, is there another way to fix this problem?  Or is it the case that Xfinity expects all of their email users to log in to webmail every week to make sure the spam filter is working correctly?

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Re: Inconsistent Spam filtering

They should have a way to whitelist senders, but they don't. You can:

  1. Set up Outlook so it uses IMAP instead of POP (I'm assuming you mean the email program, and not the Outlook.com website). See https://www.xfinity.com/support/articles/pop-imap-microsoft-outlook and https://www.xfinity.com/support/articles/email-client-programs-with-xfinity-email. That would make Comcast's Spam folder visible in Outlook.
  2. As you say, log in to webmail to check the Spam folder
  3. (Not for everyone!) Turn off their spam filtering altogether so everything they deliver arrives in the Inbox and is available to email programs like Outlook.
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Re: Inconsistent Spam filtering

Thank you, BruceW, for your prompt and useful suggestions.  I wanted to wait until I had successfully implemented the first one before I responded.  That took a while!

 

The links were helpful, but setting up Outlook to use IMAP was not as simple as the instructions made it sound.  (I indeed was referencing the email program Outlook, not Outlook.com.)  Because I access my email only via Outlook 2010 on my computer, I had kept the POP protocol.  I use other functions of Outlook (Calendar, Contacts, Tasks, Notes, Journal) as well as Email.  I tried to move these other items into folders I set up under the new IMAP account, but got an error message saying that IMAP only handles email-related items.

 

I got around this by creating a new Outlook data file. Although the IMAP-related data file is listed in the Data Files tab of Account Settings, I made the new data file (which I called Outlook Data.pst) as the default in that tab.  I moved all the items from the data file associated with the old POP account to the folders in Outlook Data.pst.  After checking that all of the items were accessible through Outlook, I removed the POP data file from Outlook’s Account Settings.  The IMAP data file is now the only one specified in the Email tab of Account Settings.

 

I set up an Outlook rule to move all items from IMAP Inbox to the Outlook Inbox.   I tried to create a corresponding rule for items in the IMAP Sent folder, but Outlook only allowed me to copy the outgoing items, not move them.  Sent mail does not seem to be uploaded to the corresponding folder on Comcast webmail, so I suppose I could just leave the sent items there and not copy them to the Outlook data file.

 

Initially there was no folder set up to show spam in the IMAP data file.  I thought perhaps there was an issue with Comcast calling it “Spam” and Outlook calling it “Junk E-mail” and I looked for settings to change.  I didn’t keep detailed notes, and I’m not sure if anything I did created a connection, or whether it just took time to synchronize.  But eventually there was a folder called “Junk” that showed the contents of “Spam” on Comcast and the Outlook icon for the folder on my PC displayed the number of (unread) items.

 

I’m still trying to decipher how/when the communication between Comcast webmail and Outlook on my PC takes place.  Outlook’s Send/Receive command does not seem effective for spam/junk. The icon for my Outlook Junk folder didn’t show anything as unread, although my wife had logged into my Comcast webmail account on her computer and could see that three more emails from our church were marked as spam this morning. After trying Send/Receive, I closed Outlook and reopened it.  The Junk folder icon still didn’t indicate there was anything in it.  But when I clicked on it, the count of 3 appeared.   

 

To give the Spam filter feedback that these were not spam, I opened the items in webmail and choose the ‘Not spam’ command.  That moved the items to my webmail Inbox. They showed up as ‘read’ in my IMAP Inbox on my PC but didn’t trigger the rule to move them to my Outlook Inbox.  So I have to tweak my procedures a bit more if I want to log in to Comcast webmail to monitor spam less often.

 

The bottom line is that the problem isn’t fixed – Comcast is still misidentifying email as spam in my account while sending the same emails through to my wife’s Outlook, and weeks of using the ‘Not spam’ command haven’t been successful in ‘training’ the filtering logic.  But the workaround is better.  So thank you again for your suggestions.