Stop Important Emails from Going to Spam

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How to Whitelist Emails or Domains in Your Email Client

By: Karla J. Eckardt, Practice Management Advisor

Our department here at The Florida Bar, The Practice Resource Center, has countless interactions with members via phone, chat, and email. We pride ourselves in our wicked fast response times. If you chat with us during business hours, you will likely get an immediate response. If you email legalfuel@floridabar.org or submit a website contact form during business hours, you will usually get a response within five to ten minutes, depending on the complexity of your inquiry. However, much to our chagrin, we have at times received feedback or follow-up from members who claim to have not received a response to their email inquiries. This is, of course, unacceptable to us. When we looked into the issue, we found that in almost every instance our responses were going straight to members’ spam or junk folders.

Now, while we are The Florida Bar, communications received from our department are by no means critical and having them go to spam may not negatively impact your practice. However, you DO NOT want to miss Florida Bar communications regarding your annual fees, CLE requirements, or any other matter which may result in delinquency and an ineligibility to practice law. You also DO NOT want to miss communications from opposing counsel or the clerk of court. “If your computer server electronically received an emailed notice or order and then erroneously tossed it out without ever notifying you or keeping a record of the transmission, you should not expect any relief because of that technological hiccup — especially if you had been warned your system was unreliable.”[1]

Regardless of your current settings, we recommend that you periodically check your junk/spam folders in case a regular or important email was erroneously marked as junk/spam. Mark these as not junk/spam and add these senders to your contact list.

Take a moment to make sure that all emails sent from @floridabar.org (as well as other important emails/domains) make it to your inbox. Here’s how:

Jump to:

Outlook

You need to add emails/domains to the Safe Senders List. Safe senders are people and domains you always want to receive email messages from. Email addresses and domain names in the Safe Senders List are never treated as junk email, regardless of the content of the message.

By default, email addresses in your Outlook contacts are considered safe senders by the Junk Email Filter, but you can change this setting.

Outlook Office Desktop App (Outlook for Microsoft 365 Outlook 2019 Outlook 2016 Outlook 2013 Outlook 2010 Outlook 2007)

  1. Click Home > Junk > Junk Email Options.
  2. Under Safe Sender, select Add and enter the email address or domain you want to add into the text box that appears.
  3. Select Ok. The email or domain will now appear on the list.
  4. Select OK or Apply.

TIP: Make sure the boxes are checked for “Also trust email from my Contacts” and “Automatically add people I email to the Safe Senders List.”

TIP: To avoid regular or important emails from going to junk, in Junk Email Options, under the Options tab, make sure that the level of junk email protection is set to “no automatic filtering” or “low.” Also make sure to uncheck the box to “Permanently delete suspected junk email instead of moving it to the Junk Email folder.”

Outlook on the Web (Office for Business, Office 365 Small Business Outlook on the web Outlook on the web for Exchange Server 2016)

  1. At the top of the page, select Settings > View all Outlook settings.
  2. Select MailJunk email.
  3. Under Safe senders and domains, select Add and enter the email address or domain you want to add. Hit enter.
  4. Select Save.

Outlook Web App (email servers running Exchange Server 2013 or 2010)

  1. Sign in to Outlook Web App. For help, see Getting started in Outlook Web App.
  2. At the top of the page, select Settings  > Mail.
  3. Under Options, select Block or allow.
  4. To add an entry to Safe senders and recipients, enter the email address or domain that you want to mark as safe in the Enter a sender or domain here text box, and then press Enter or select the Add icon  next to the text box.
    • For example, to mark all email from addresses that end in contoso.com as safe, enter contoso.com in the text box.
    • To mark a specific person as safe, enter that person’s full email address. For example, to mark all messages from KatieJ@contoso.com as safe, enter KatieJ@contoso.com in the text box.
  5. (Optional) Select the Trust email from my contacts check box to treat email from any address in your contacts folders as safe.
  6. Select Save to save your changes.

G Suite Gmail User

To whitelist senders based on their email address or domain name is easier than ever for G Suite Gmail users, you just need to create a filter.

  1. In the search box at the top, click the Down arrow .
  2. Enter the email address, domain and/or other search criteria you want to whitelist.
  3. At the bottom of the search window, click Create filter.
  4. Choose ‘Never send it to Spam.
    • TIP: Also consider selecting ‘Always mark as important’ and/or apply label. Labels function like folders where specific emails can be grouped together.
  5. Click Create filter.

Use a particular message to create a filter

  1. Check the checkbox next to the email you want.
  2. Click More .
  3. Click Filter messages like these.
  4. Enter your filter criteria.
  5. Click Create filter.

G Suite Admin

G Suite Gmail users can still setup their own filters as explained above. However, emails can also be whitelisted for all users within an organization by a G Suite administrator in the Google Admin console. See Whitelist IP addresses in Gmail.

If you want to whitelist senders based on their email address or domain name, rather than their sending server IP address, create an approved senders list in the Spam setting.

  1. Sign in to your Google Admin console using an administrator account, not an @gmail.com account.
  2. From the Admin console Home page, go to Apps > G Suite > Gmail > Advanced settings.
    • TIP: To see Advanced settings, scroll to the bottom of the Gmail page.
  3. (Optional) On the left, select an organization.
  4. Scroll to the Spam, phishing, and malware and at Spam, click Configure.
    • If the setting is already configured, point to the setting and click Edit or Add Another.
  5. For a new setting, enter a unique name.
  6. (Optional) To bypass spam filters for internal messages from users within the organization, check the Bypass spam filters for messages received from internal senders box.
    • Authenticated messages from subdomains, including subdomains not hosted by Google, are treated as internal messages.
    • If you add multiple spam settings, this setting can impact spam filter behavior.
  7. Configure an approved sender list by checking the Bypass spam filters for messages received from addresses or domains within these approved senders lists box.
  8. Click Use existing or create a new one.
  9. To create a new one, enter a new list name, and click Create.
  10. To use an existing list as your approved sender list, click the list name.
  11. Move your pointer over the list name and click Edit.
  12. Click Add +.
  13. Enter email addresses or domain names, using a space or a comma to separate multiple entries.
    • Note: If you want to bypass this setting for approved senders that don’t have authentication, uncheck the Require sender authentication box. This will bypass DMARC, SPF, and DKIM authentication. Learn more about sender authentication.
  14. Click Save.
  15. At the bottom of the Gmail Advanced settings page, click Save.

It can take up to 24 hours for your changes to take effect. You can track prior changes with the Admin console audit log.

Other Email Clients

Most other popular email clients offer the ability to manage spam settings and create filters. However, for reasons we’ve previously discussed,[2] we won’t go over the setup for these in detail. If you do happen to use any of the following email clients to do business, we highly recommend that you consider switching to a paid, business class service.

 


[1] Blankenship, Spam Blocker Proves Costly, Fla. Bar News (October 15, 2017). See also, LegalFuel.com, How One Law Firm’s Spam Blocker Proved Costly, Technology & Cybersecurity Topics (September 22, 2017).

[2] Eckardt, Things You Should Know About Free Email & File Sharing Cloud Services, LegalFuel.com, Technology Cloud Computing & Cybersecurity Topics (September 22, 2019).