Category: Communications (Page 1 of 5)

Shentel/Mail2World’s 2024 Spam Problem

If you still use a Shentel email address, you should know that there’s a problem with Mail2World’s spam filter right now. Some (but not all) email inboxes are getting a lot more junk email than is normal. After talking with Shentel tech support, I can’t say that I know what the problem is. I don’t know when it will be fixed. I can’t say with certainty that Mail2World is anything more than 3 children in a trenchcoat. But what I can do is teach you how to cope with Shentel/Mailworld’s 2024 Spam Problem in this blog post.

Shentel/Mail2World’s 2024 Spam Problem
Some people are getting several copies of EACH of these spam messages in their inboxes, every day!

What NOT to Do

First of all, don’t call Shentel expecting a quick fix. This problem is out of their hands, because Remember: Shentel doesn’t manage their email addresses anymore. They offshored their addresses to a company called Mail2World. And that company is really hard to get a hold of. But Shentel assures me that M2W knows about the problem and is working on it…

Next, do NOT unsubscribe from any spam! Clicking on unsubscribe (or any other links) in an unwanted message is asking for trouble. If you click on links in spam, you could attract more spam or lead your computer to a malicious website or download.

While you’re at it, don’t bother trying to use Block Sender on spam. It can’t hurt, but it isn’t likely to help. Block Sender is typically useful only for someone who always uses the same email address. Like that annoying relative who always forwards tacky joke emails to everyone he knows. Or the neighborhood Tupperware salesperson. Or a mentally questionable ex-boyfriend. Block those people to keep your inbox stress-free, but spammers change their email on every message they send. Blocking a spammer won’t work!

What to Do

Your best tool against spam coming to your Shentel inbox is the Mark as Spam function. This is not easy to find! Let me run through some steps on how to find this:

  • Visit the Shentel Webmail site and sign in with your email credentials
  • Identify any spam messages in your inbox, and check the box(es) to the left of each one
  • Above and to the right of your inbox email, click More and then click Mark as Spam
Shentel/Mail2World’s 2024 Spam Problem

Using this feature removes the spam from the inbox and also sends a message back to Mail2World (and their anti-spam vendor) that these types of messages are spam. It should eventually help them block more spam, which benefits everyone.

Other Problems with Shentel Spam

The Shentel Spam Filter is misfiring in other ways, right now.

Some users are reporting that good email is winding up in the Spam folder. If you feel you are missing any expected message, you’ll want to check your Spam folder. As described above, it is best if you visit the Shentel Webmail page, and then click the Spam folder in the left-hand column. If you find a trustworthy message in Spam, check the box next to it, click the More menu and then click Not Spam.

Also, you may begin seeing some other cryptic emails in your Inbox or Spam folder like these:

I don’t think these messages are spam or harmful in nature. They may be intended for Mail2World and their anti-spam software team, but are being misdelivered to us end-users. Don’t worry about them, and just delete them if you feel any kind of way about them.

Taking It to the Next Level

If we wait this out long enough, the hope is that Mail2World will figure things out, kick their spam filter into gear, and things will go back to … normal. A normal amount of spam, reliable email coming and going, etc.

But what if that doesn’t happen? What if this problem persists for much longer, or how about if new problems emerge as this one resolves? Mail2World doesn’t have the best track record and I am not prepared to assure you of their capabilities.

If you can’t abide anymore, then your next option would be to create a new email address. Gmail,, ProtonMail and a variety of other email offerings exist. You can create a new address with them at the drop of a hat, and for free.

I realize that concept is intimidating. Switching your email address, in some ways, is more of a labor than changing your mailing address. Not only are you faced with notifying all of your friends and family, but you must reach out to companies with the new email info. And then you get to log into all of your important websites, one by one, to convince each to update your email info.

But consider this: Changing your email address doesn’t have to be accomplished all in one weekend. You can create a new address and migrate things over to it at your pace. You can check two email addresses for as long as you want. Maybe you decide to keep and maintain both addresses?

Also, some email users create a new email address and forward their Shentel mail into it. This is a safeguard against people who “don’t get the memo” about your new address. And it can help with spam! For example, let’s say that you create a new Gmail, and route your Shentel mail into it. All inbound Shentel mail passes through their subpar junk filter, and then gets bounced over to Google. Then Gmail runs it all through their superlative spam filter, and the worthwhile messages arrive in your new Googly inbox.

Email Your Future Self

email your future self

If you’ve ever wanted to send an email to your future self, there’s a great website for that!


You’re welcome to use this website for free, and it does exactly what it says on the tin: You write an email to your future self, and FutureMe promises to send it to you at the date of your choice.

I can imagine a lot of positive uses for this, but if you need examples, check out their FAQ page and their Public Letters page for more info.

How to Recognize Spam

how to recognize spam

For some, it’s easy to spot spam in your inbox. But for others, it can be a real challenge. Spammers use a variety of tactics to make their email look tempting, believable and worthy of attention. But much like a spoiled brat or a passive-aggressive boss, we don’t want to encourage a spammer any more than we have to. The following common characteristics will help you recognize spam, so that you can react correctly when it arrives:

Mismatched Sender Email Addresses

When you get an email that you’re not sure about, consider the sender’s address. Many spammers use Gmail/Outlook/Yahoo addresses, because they are quick & easy to create. Other spammers use whatever email address they please, because they’ve spoofed it to look like a trusted domain name. In any case, looking at the email address from which the message came is your first clue to spam.

For example, if you have a curious email about your Norton subscription, but it came from, that should immediately tell you that you have spam. A legit email from Norton would likely have in the address.

Also imagine: You’re looking at a message from HelloFresh, and it seems to have been sent by Wouldn’t the real HelloFresh send their marketing messages from an address ending in “”?

Gobbledygook Email Address

While you’re checking the sender email address, any kind of gobbledygook you see there is another tip-off. If the message came from, you can probably consider that as spam.


Even though this may be new vocabulary to you, you probably already know what this is from past spam. A homoglyph is a character or symbol that is very similar in appearance to another. Homoglyphs can be used in humorous or creative ways, such as in l33tspeak or slangy texting, but spammers use it a lot in their subject lines and message bodies. Homoglyphic substitution helps their email get past some spam filters, while preserving the overall meaning for their recipients.

Șó aṇỿtɨmе yóu sее an еmaɨ| mеssagе that |óóks |ɨke thɨs sеṇtеṇçе, knów that ɨt ɨs spam and trеat ɨt as suçh.

Spelling and Grammar

Some spam employs flawless English, while other spam does not. If that message from WholeFoods is horribly written, or that offer from Wal*Mart misspelled the word “coupon”, beware! A big company surely has an editor on staff to review any mass communications, and would almost never broadcast anything so unprofessional.

Incidentally, I should remind you that spammers intentionally send spam with misspellings and poor grammar. They’re not ignorant. They do this as a tactic to target their audience and get responses from the people who are more likely to fall for their scams.

Outlandish Claims

Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.” Please do not believe or react too quickly in response to any email making outlandish claims or promises. I assure you that:

  • The Grand Vizier of Mazumba Province is not going to bequeath $10M to you
  • You are not going to get rich quick by investing in a secret Bitcoin opportunity
  • Secret Shoppers are not being hired in your zip code and you will not make $100k in your first year
  • That payout from a casino or lottery (that you’ve never heard of) is not going to make you rich

These emails persist, because they can sweep people up in their hopeful emotions and take advantage of our trusting nature. Don’t fall for it. Practice critical thinking skills and research things without haste, without responding to such spam.


Is an email urging you to Act Now Before Time Runs Out? Is their special offer only good for another 15 minutes, and the message even shows an animated clock, counting down? Or is there a veiled threat of bad things coming, if you don’t act in a timely manner?

In any case, if an unexpected message is conveying a sense of urgency, that’s a big red flag. Legitimate offers won’t push or rush you into any decision. Hurrying you to decide something is a tactic meant to compromise your judgment.

Nearly Empty Messages

Some spam plays their game in the other direction: Their message shows up blank or mostly vacant of any real text. What little there is in the message is a lure.

Sometimes, the spam contains only a single sentence or phrase. It’s usually vague but just interesting enough to entice you. And it will be a weblink; you will instinctively know that you could click it to learn more. Don’t click it! It’s a trap!

Other times, the spam will have absolutely no text in the body. there will be only a single large image, and your email program may ask you if you want to Display Images? This, also, is a trap. Never ask your email app to display images from any unknown sender.

Anyone tricked by these messages will confirm to the sender that they’ve read the email and interacted with it. That leads to more spam and scams in their inboxes. Also, clicking links could expose them to malware downloads, phishing websites and worse.

This post should end with a recap on what you should do, and not do, with spam.

  • Just delete it, OR
  • Mark it as Spam/Junk mail (if your email offers you such an option)
  • Feel free to open and read any potential spam message, BUT
  • Do NOT reply to spam, do NOT call any phone numbers shown in spam
  • Do NOT click any links inside of spam, do NOT open any attachments
  • Do NOT unsubscribe from spam. Any unsubscribe options, even when offered by Google, can result in your receiving MORE spam.

Some good news on the horizon: Google is adding AI to their spam filtering software. They claim this will make them more successful at blocking homoglyph abuse and other sneaky spam. And if Google is deploying this new technology, I bet Microsoft and other big tech firms will follow suit.


I didn’t think we needed a specific term for scam phone calls, but here we are. Following in the footsteps of smishing and quishing, we also have the term vishing. Vishing is another portmanteau, created from voice + phishing. When you see or hear about vishing, they’re referring to any phishing/cybercrime carried out over the phone or through other verbal means.

Vishing Examples

You may know of some of these vishing scenarios already, but they’re worth rehashing. Some of these employ live human voices, while others might use recorded messages or even AI-generated speech.

  • Big Tech Impostor: An important technology company calls to urge you into action. The call may claim to be from Apple, Microsoft, Yahoo, Google, etc., and they may claim your account has been compromised or your data has been stolen. Others calls seem to come from Norton, McAfee and the like, where they state your PC is infected, or you are due some special refund. These calls often become a remote control scam.
  • Big Merchandise Impostor: Most of us place orders with Amazon or Wal*Mart, but that doesn’t mean they’ll call you out of the blue. Calls announcing that your shipment has been lost or damaged, will probably morph into a refund-based scam.
  • Pretending to Be Your Bank: Is that call really coming from your bank, or is it an impostor. Be suspicious if the person on the phone wants your PIN, or a texted code or anything else sensitive from you.
  • Television/Broadcast/Satellite Impostors: Xfinity, Dish, DirecTV and more are commonly impersonated on calls offering discounts and refunds.
  • The Grandparent Scam: Vishers call their victims, trying to pass themselves off as young relatives in trouble. Even worse, this scam is changing to employ AI-generated voices that sound very convincing. Family members report receiving calls that claim someone dear to them has been kidnapped.
  • Police Department/Court Systems/IRS Threats: If you need to pay your taxes, settle a court order or be arrested, a government employee will not call you to take payment over the phone. But these vishing efforts succeed everyday, because people are often afraid of these entities coming to their doors.

Advice & Notes about Vishing

  • Most vishing calls use Caller ID spoofing, to make them more convincing. Please remember that Caller ID is not always truthful.
  • Do not harass or aggress a caller, if you figure out they are a scammer. In rare instances, the cybercrook will respond by swatting their victim. Just hang up on them.
  • Some vishing calls originate from your trash. A crook may harvest an account number or some other PII after doing a little dumpster diving. I recommend you shred all sensitive paperwork before you dispose of it.
  • If you haven’t put your number on the National Do Not Call Registry, now’s the time. It won’t solve your telemarketing call problems, but it might decrease the unwanted calls coming in.
  • Let all unknown callers roll to voicemail. Do not answer mystery callers.
  • Some vishers look to leave a voicemail message about an urgent situation. They may use tools that send their call directly to your voicemail inbox! The recording will state a phone number to call, but that will typically just connect you to the scammers. Do not call these crooks back!
  • Don’t speak to a robocall or any suspicious caller. Some experts worry that talking on a recorded line may make it easier for a crook to steal your spoken words to create voice-mimickry used in their next vishing calls.
  • Vishing calls are getting better everyday, and you may find yourself on a call that you can’t figure out. If you’re feeling torn, hang up the phone! Call the company back, using a number you can trust, either from a printed invoice in your possession, or from their website.

Wi-Fi Calling

wi-fi calling

Wi-Fi Calling is a commonplace function, built into most smartphones by now. But as ubiquitous as it is, I still meet people unfamiliar with it, or suffering without it. So here’s all you need to know about Wi-Fi Calling:

The Basics

Wi-Fi Calling (rarely called Voice over Wi-Fi calling or VoWiFi) is another service that allows your cellphone to make or receive phonecalls. And also text messages! Whether you have an iPhone or an Android, this feature is probably already running, inside your device.

Normally, your phone would connect a call over the cellular network, using the local cell towers. But when that cellular signal is weak or lost, Wi-Fi Calling can take over. Your call/text will still happen, but it will travel over the internet, through your local Wi-Fi network, instead.

Wi-Fi Calling is typically free and included with whatever calling plan you’ve purchased with your cellular provider.

Where Is It Useful?

They say that “Home is Where the Wi-Fi Is” but Wi-Fi Calling isn’t just for when you’re inside your house. It can help your phone work better wherever you go and the cellular reception is lacking:

  • Vacation at a remote location
  • Working in a densely built, cinderblock basement
  • Walking through a parking garage/warehouse/convention center

If you can connect your phone to any working wireless network, Wi-Fi Calling kicks in and you’ll have uninterrupted service. The calls and texts will flow! So, as you travel, you may want to connect your phone to every Wi-Fi network accessible to you. The public Wi-Fi at the library. The free Wi-Fi at Costco. The municipal Wi-Fi at the downtown walking mall. The hospital’s Wi-Fi.

This feature may also help you avoid international calling charges (but check with your carrier before you travel and rely on that). And, if you have a very-limited data plan, Wi-Fi Calling may also help you avoid extra charges for data usage. Calls and texts that travel over Wi-Fi Calling should not count towards your data consumption!

Finding This on Your Phone

You do not need to install any extra apps or software for this to work. It’s already inside your smartphone’s OS. But I want you to know how to find this on your phone, just to verify that it is Enabled/On. Plus, if you ever have any trouble with your Wi-Fi Calling, your first troubleshooting step should be: Find this setting, and turn it off and on again.

Use any of the following links for steps and info on where to find it:

Make calls over Wi-Fi, by Google

Make a call with Wi-Fi Calling, by Apple

Set up Wi-Fi Calling, by T-Mobile

AT&T WI-FI® Calling, by AT&T

Wi-Fi Calling at Verizon FAQs

If you have a smartphone, but cannot find this feature on your phone, call your carrier to ask about it! It cannot be used on really old phones (or flip-phones). But if this is missing from your modern smartphone, it could be that the carrier didn’t activate it for you from their end. That’s usually a quick fix, after a call in to customer support

Caller ID Spoofing

Caller ID spoofing, or phone number spoofing, is important to understand. If you’re not familiar with this practice, let me explain:

Caller ID Is Fallible

When you receive a phone call, most phones display some identification about the inbound call. You may see:

  • First Name, Last Name, Area Code and Phone Number
  • Business Name, Area Code and Phone Number
  • Private
  • Unknown Caller

You need to know: The info shown on your Caller ID can be altered. Both the number and the name on your Caller ID display could be inaccurate or untrue. It is easy and often free for someone to change (spoof) their Caller ID info.


Phone call spoofing, as a practice, is legal in our country. But using spoofing to defraud or cause harm is illegal. If this gives you some pause, if you’re wondering why spoofing is legal at all, consider some possible legitimate uses:

  • Law enforcement may need to alter their identity as they investigate crimes.
  • Collections agents might spoof their Caller ID info so that a debtor won’t avoid their calls.
  • A doctor or counselor may spoof their number when calling a patient to maintain a crucial level of privacy.
  • Friends might use Caller ID spoofing for pranking each other, without causing harm.


Of course, the main point of this post is to talk about scams, and make you alert to them. Scammers love to use Caller ID spoofing when they call their potential victims. They know that people tend to believe what they read, especially when it flashes by quickly. Robocallers and spammers also use phone spoofing, but the biggest danger is from scams like these:

  • Caller ID shows the name of a US Court System or the IRS, and the caller says you need to pay off your fine/charges now, or be incarcerated.
  • Apple/Microsoft/Amazon/Facebook Support shows on the Caller ID, and a robocall tells you that your account has had suspicious activity on it. Press 1 to be connected to an agent who will help (steal) your account.
  • Your bank shows on the Caller ID, and they are calling to reset your PIN and password, as someone has tried to hack into your accounts.

To be absolutely clear, the above examples are scams. The IRS, Microsoft, your bank, etc. are NOT going to call you for account changes or payments. Please hang up if you ever answer a call like these!

Scams of all kinds use spoofing to make their calls show the same area code and exchange as your number. This is called Neighbor Spoofing. They make their number look very close to your number, so that you think it is someone local to you and might answer more quickly.

It is also possible for someone to spoof your exact phone number. This can be done to confuse you and get you to answer. But it can also be done to deflect blame to you. If you ever get angry calls from other people, telling you to stop with the spam calls, understand that a bad actor may be using your number in their spoofing scheme.

How to Defend Against Call Spoofing

You’re doing it right now. Maintaining awareness that Caller ID is not to be trusted is the best defense against Caller ID spoofing. After that, you can consider some extra tactics:

  • Talk to your phone provider and see if they offer/recommend any particular call screening options or apps with spoofing protection.
  • Put your phone number on the National Do Not Call Registry.
  • Don’t answer unfamiliar numbers. Let every unexpected mystery call roll to voicemail.
  • Report persistent spoofing problems to your phone carrier and/or the police.

Mail2World ↔ Gmail Problems

If you use Shentel (or other Mail2World) email, you might notice that you can’t get an email to go through to someone’s Gmail address. Or maybe a Gmail user is telling you that they can’t send email to you at your address. I’ve seen Mail2World ↔ Gmail Problems off and on for many years now. Here are Too Many Words™ about why that is:

Email Authentication

As email flies around the globe, it runs through many checks and authentication. Mail servers scan email for legitimacy, spam content and other safety concerns. These authorization methods are a bit above my paygrade to discuss in detail, but the main ones are called SPF, DKIM and DMARC. You can look them up and read about them, if that’s your cup of tea.

Google takes security seriously. They are very strict with their email authentication, and they frequently improve their server security. Due to Google’s size, when they raise the bar for email authentication, it affects the entire world. Other providers take notice and follow suit whenever Google makes a change to their email protocols. If email providers don’t update their email security to match Google, some legitimate email may be marked as spam. Other email may simply not get through.

The Email Block

And here we get to a problem I frequently see with Shentel email and other Mail2World-offered email addresses. It goes both ways:

  1. Gmail user sends a message to a Shentel address, and receives an Undeliverable message in response.
  2. Shentel mail user sends a message to a Gmail address, and receives an Failed_Precondition message in response.

You can always try sending your email in a different way. Log into a different browser or a different email app. Try using the webmail site, if you haven’t already. Go to a different computer or device. If the problem persists across multiple pieces of technology, then the problem is not yours and it’s out of your hands.

What to Do About It

If you’ve got Mail2World ↔ Gmail Problems, it is Mail2World’s fault. M2W needs to update & fix their email security. For anyone impacted by this, please consider these options:

  • Call Shentel tech support at 1-800-SHENTEL and report the details of your email error messages.
  • Email Mail2World tech support at
  • Consider creating/switching to another email address

I really do need you to consider that last one, if you suffer from this problem. Shentel can only report your trouble to Mail2World. Mail2World may or may not respond to your direct queries. They do respond to emails… sometimes. They have fixed this kind of problem before… but it took weeks or even months. Please know that Gmail/Outlook/AOL/Yahoo/ProtonMail/Apple email addresses typically do NOT have this problem! There are more reliable email products out there for you!

Mobile Broadband

When shopping for internet service, you may have plenty of options: Cable, Fiber, Fixed Wireless, Satellite, DSL. But one oft-overlooked option needs to be included: Mobile Broadband. This home internet service is powered over the airwaves and through the same towers as your cellular phones. Consider these options from the big cellular companies:

T-Mobile Home Internet

AT&T Internet Air

Verizon Home Internet

If you have terrestrial options for internet service, you may want to stick with them. But the new residential mobile broadband service can be a moneysaver/lifesaver for people in rural, underserved areas. If you are suffering under super-slow DSL, or flaky satellite internet service, or high-priced Starlink, the above options are worth considering!

But mobile broadband is not available everywhere. The first step for anyone considering this type of internet is to talk with the provider. Visit a T-MO, ATT or VZ store and have them check your address. They’ll let you know if your residence is serviceable.

When someone signs up for mobile broadband service, the provider sends a Wi-Fi modem, as shown above. The user plugs it in, uses an app to setup the household Wi-Fi, and then starts connecting the household computers and devices. It’s usually pretty streamlined and easy. And their Wi-Fi modem serves as a regular router, allowing you to connect multiple computers, streaming devices, printers, etc..

These home internet options are not as blazing fast as cable or fiber, but they should be significantly better than DSL. If you investigate this type of internet, make sure to ask the provider what type of speeds they think you’ll get in your area. They can vary wildly from one region to the next.

Starlink Satellite Train

starlink satellite train

Alright, folks: if you ever get to see this in your night sky, relax and enjoy the spectacle. This is not War of the Worlds or Independence Day or HHGTTH. It’s a Starlink Satellite Train!

Starlink is the world’s premier satellite internet service provider. And as they expand and improve service, they launch new satellites, in long strings, as shown above. Some people around the globe have been lucky enough to see these as they fly into the stratosphere and enter into service.

You might be surprised to see how many Starlink satellites we have orbiting the Earth. If you’re interested in trying to spot the next Starlink Satellite Train, you can check out this site to figure out when the next launch may be visible in the night sky. This article and this site also has information about past and future launches.

New Storage Limits on

Microsoft has made some changes to the amount of free storage you get with their email and other cloud services. If you are a paid member of Microsoft 365, you probably don’t have to worry about any of this. But free users are in a different boat. The new storage limits on email addresses are likely to cause confusion and total email blockage!

There’s a lot of confusion about it all, because Microsoft has created a very complicated problem here. I hope I can explain it a little better than they do:

The Basic Quotas

  • Free users of Microsoft storage get 5GB of storage space for their files. This is where your OneDrive files go, if you use that.
  • Free users of Microsoft email get 15GB of storage space for their emails, contacts and calendar entries.
  • Microsoft free services work great, until you exceed a storage quota. Once you exceed a quota, the service stops working until you resolve the overage.

The Confusion

Here’s where Microsoft has made things confusing: your email attachments now count against both quotas. Depending on the size of your total saved attachments, you can be under quota in, but over your quota for Microsoft (cloud) storage. I’ll paint a hypothetical for you:

Let’s say that I’ve been saving years of emails in my address, and those messages total 10GB in size. That’s fine! That’s well under the 15GB quota. But due to the new rule, those 10GB of messages have close to 10GB of attachments, and those count against the other quota. When Microsoft notices that my email attachments are exceeding my 5GB Microsoft storage quota, they shut down my email, until I fix it.

When this email stoppage occurs, you will see it when you visit your email on the web, at You may not get this stoppage alert in other email clients (Thunderbird, Outlook, Apple Mail, etc.)! So if your address is malfunctioning, visit the Microsoft email website to see if you get an explanation there.

Resolving an Email Stoppage

If your email has stoppage due to this quota issue, you’ll see a message about it at the top, as you log into the email website. But go further to see a proper breakdown and explanation of the quotas for your account:

  • Once logged in at, click the settings Cogwheel to the upper-right.
  • Go down the list and click View All Outlook Settings.
  • On the left, click General, and then click Storage in the second column.

You’ll see something like this:

If the Total used figure is over 5GB, you have a problem to address. You can either a) start deleting emails, or b) pay Microsoft for more storage.

If you’re of a mind to delete things, click the link for Outlook (Attachments) next to Free Up Space. That should take you back to your inbox, but sorted such that the largest email with attached files are at the top. Trash as much as you can stand, and then refresh the page to recheck your quota.

Or if you prefer, Microsoft will sell you more storage for as low as $20/year. If you sign up for Microsoft 365 Basic, your email storage quota will jump to 50GB instantly.

« Older posts

© 2024 BlueScreen Computer

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑