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Preventing spam / junk email from becoming incidents
Answer ID 908   |   Last Review Date 04/01/2021

What can be done to stop SPAM email from becoming incidents?


Mailboxes, SPAM Filtering, Business Rules, All versions


Generally, bulk mail messages (spam) are automatically removed by the techmail utility, which checks to see if the originating mail server is the type commonly used for sending out mass mailings. The odds are good that many messages of this type are already being removed before they come into your Oracle B2C Service application.


External Spam Filtering

The best way to avoid receiving spam email is to use a dedicated spam filtering tool.

Spam filtering is provided for mailboxes that are hosted by Oracle B2C Service. You can configure spam filtering for each of your hosted mailboxes. For more information, refer to  Answer ID 11713: Managing the new Spam Quarantine.

If you are using a mailbox that is not hosted by Oracle B2C Service, it is strongly recommended that you use an external spam filtering utility. This will not only reduce the amount of unwanted email that you will receive, but also the chance that a mal-formatted spam message will disrupt the processing of valid email.


Discard Fields for Mailboxes

Within your Oracle B2C Service application, each mailbox has discard fields which allow you to filter email based on content.

You can add specific email addresses to your list of Discard Addresses. Incoming email from addresses included in the Discard Addresses field are deleted before they become incidents and before a contact record is created. Consistently adding offending email addresses can prevent repetitive abuses by an individual.

Note: The list of discard addresses is separated by commas without spaces.

Similarly, you can update the Discard Subject or Discard Body field of your mailbox configuration with the phrase you want to match. Enter any text found in an email subject line that identifies an email as one to be discarded. Each entry should be on a separate line. For example:

Mortgage rates
Marketing solution
Bargain alert

Note: Emails are discarded based on whether the content matches any of the text strings entered and function similar to regular expressions in business rules. That is, if you include the entry "hat" as criteria to discard the email, emails will be discarded if they include words that have "hat" in them, including, "chat", "what", "hatch" and so on. For this reason, it is best to include longer words or phrases when adding content to these discard fields.


To modify any of the discard fields, use the steps below:

  1. Go to Configuration > Site Configuration > Mailboxes
  2. Select a mailbox.
  3. In the ribbon, click the Incoming Email tab.
  4. In the content pane towards the bottom there are the Discard Filters. 
  5. Highlight the tab for the required filter and paste your content.


Auto-responder can filter emails that are created using regular expression matches. You can search for matches either in the header or body of incoming emails. 

The auto-responder filter is controlled by configuration settings: 


These settings take POSIX-extended regular expressions (one per line) with a leading and trailing '/'. Changes made to the conservative filter will be read in to more aggressive filters so you do not have to make additional modifications to mailboxes using more aggressive filters. Please note these configurations are interface specific.

You can make any modifications you would like here but you should use caution, the use of a regex in this way is very powerful so we always recommend testing on a test site prior to implementing in production so that you do not pick up false positives. We also suggest watching the entries in the 'Incoming Email Filter Details' (ac_id 227) report in the subsequent days after making changes to confirm that you are not filtering any unexpected items.



Configure a Rule to Manage Emails

If spam and content filtering is not enough to block all unwanted messages, you can set up a rule within Oracle B2C Service to look for a specific keyword(s) in the email and either:

  1. NOT create an incident if those words are included in the message, or
  2. create an incident but notify or assign it to someone who can review it for this type of content.

Important! Using rules in this manner is not foolproof -- messages may not match the rule specified, and there is a chance that the rule may act upon messages which contain the keyword(s) but are not actually spam.

The most common method for setting up this type of rule is to use regular expressions and the pipe ( | ) feature. The pipe is used to specify a series of words or phrases that you are interested in matching. The pipe acts as an OR operator between each item separated by the pipe character. For example, to set up a condition that matches the rule if the subject of an email contains "cat" or "dog", you can set up the criteria in the "if" section of the rule as listed below:

Incident.Summary matches regular expression cat|dog

You can then add additional criteria or specify actions to complete the configuration of your rule.

Once your rule is configured, be sure to test the rule by submitting test incidents to your site. Submit several incidents that will match the rule to verify that it will match the incidents you want it to. Also submit at least one incident that should not match to verify that it will not affect incidents that it shouldn't.

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