Blocking and Unblocking Email Addresses

How do I block Spam in AOL Mail?

To block unwanted spam, your Spam filter must be turned on. Once it's turned on, you can adjust your Spam filter settings to block or allow mail.

Note: Your Spam filter is turned on by default.

To adjust your spam settings:

1. In the upper right, below your Username, click Options and then click Mail Settings.

2. In the left panel, click Spam Settings.

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3. To the right of 'Spam Filter', click the drop-down menu and select a level for your Spam filter (Off, Low, Medium, High).

Note: The recommended setting for your Spam Filter is Medium, but if you find that spam is still finding its way into your inbox, you can increase the setting to 'High'. Keep in mind the 'High' setting may confuse regular email for spam and deliver non-spam emails to your Spam folder.

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4. If you want to block or allow messages from a particular person, you'd use the 'Sender Filter' section. Click the drop-down menu and select an option.

Note: The default setting is Allow mail from all senders. You can go as far as Block mail from all senders, though it is a bit drastic. If you select Allow mail from addresses I specify you can specify specific email addresses you want to receive email from. Any addresses you have not specified will be blocked.

5. Once you've selected an option from the 'Sender Filter' drop-down menu, in the text below, enter the username or email address of the person you'd like to filter and then click the + button to the right.

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6. In the Content Filter section, you can choose to block messages containing pictures or specific words or phrases.

Note: If you select Block mail containing pictures or files it will affect your ability to send and receive attachments.

7. In the Blocked Mail section, you can choose to 'Permanently delete blocked mail' or 'Deliver blocked mail to the Spam folder'.

Note: It's recommended to select 'Deliver blocked mail to the Spam folder' just in case a non-spam email gets blocked, you'll still be able to go into your Spam folder and retrieve the message.

8. At the bottom of the page, click Save to keep your changes.

All done! You may still get spam in your inbox from time to time, but marking email as spam will help your spam filter identify mail as spam.

How do I block emails from a particular sender?

Is someone sending you unwanted mail? You can block unwanted messages in AOL Mail by adding the senders email address or domain to your list of blocked email addresses and domains under Spam Settings.

Notes:

  • You can block a maximum of 1000 email addresses/domain names.
  • A domain is the part of the email address after the @ symbol. For example, if the email address is address@aol.com, then aol.com is the domain.

To block unwanted emails:

1. In the upper right, below your Username, click Options and then click Mail Settings.

2. In the left panel, click Spam Settings.

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3. To the right of 'Sender Filter', click the drop-down menu and select Block mail from addresses I specify.

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4. In the Enter username or email address box, type the email address or domain name that you wish to block and then click the + button to add the email address or domain name to the list.

Note: A domain is the part of the email address after the @ symbol. For example, if the email address is address@aol.com, then aol.com is the domain.

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5. At the bottom, click Save Settings.

All done. No more unwanted mail!

How do I unblock an email address?

If you've accidentally blocked an email address or domain, you can remove it from the list of blocked email addresses and domains in your Spam Settings.

To unblock an email address:

1. In the upper right, below your Username, click Options and then click Mail Settings.

2. In the left panel, click Spam Settings.

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3. In the Sender Filter section, move your pointer over the email address or domain name that you want to remove from the list, and then click the X located to the right. Repeat for all the email addresses or domain names that you'd like to remove.

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4. Once you've removed the email address, scroll to the bottom and click Save.

That's it! You'll now be able to get messages from that email address.

How can I disable links in emails from people I don't know?

Turning off links in messages from people you don't know is a great way to protect yourself from accidentally downloading a virus. We highly recommend it! And it's easy.


To disable links in AOL Mail:

1. In the upper right, below your Username, click Options, and then click Mail Settings.

2. On the General Settings page, in the "Reading" section, click the box next to Disable links in mail from unknown senders to place a check mark in it.

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3. Scroll to the bottom of the page and click Save Settings.

4. To make sure this new Setting is active in your current session of Mail, click your browser's "Refresh" button (the circular arrow) to reload your inbox. All right: Done!

Using the Spam Filter/Folder

How does the AOL Spam Filter work?

AOL's anti-spam tools suite consists of 3 controls.

You can configure anti-spam settings specific to your account by using the spam control options in your mailbox. You can set your spam settings to High, Low, or Medium, depending on the level of protection you need. The default setting is Medium, and we recommend this setting.

The actions that you perform in your mailbox with respect to spam mails condition the spam filters to perform optimally. Each account has a personal adaptive spam filter that identifies spam and good mail based on what you report as spam or not spam. As long as your Spam Filter is set to Low, Medium, or High, your filter will learn to identify the mails you like or dislike.

AOL spam controls filter emails for possible spam, even before the mail reaches your inbox or Spam Folder. This system is largely reputation-based, so, senders with good reputation will have their emails delivered (at which point, your personal filters will perform the extra filtering). Emails from senders with bad reputation are blocked. If our Global Filters decide to block an email, we return the message to the sender with a mailer-daemon error explaining why the email was returned. The Global Filter works the best when your Spam Filter is set to Medium or High.

Note: If you believe that you are receiving too much spam in your inbox, please consider increasing your Spam Filter configuration to a higher setting.

What is the Spam Folder?

The Spam folder, located in the left panel, contains email messages that you have marked as spam.

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Things to know about your Spam Folder:

  • This folder can hold a maximum of 250 emails.
  • Emails deleted from the Spam folder are permanently deleted from the AOL mail servers.
  • The Spam folder will also be visible for the Teen and Kids Only accounts, depending on the Parental Controls settings for those accounts.
  • Email messages in this folder are automatically deleted after five days.
  • Sometimes, non-spam items can be marked as spam so it's a good idea to check it periodically to see if any important emails accidentally made their way to the Spam folder.
  • To empty the Spam folder, move your pointer over the Spam folder and click the Empty link on the right.

How do I retrieve an email that was accidently marked as spam?

Accidentally mark a message as Spam? If it's been less than five days since you marked the message as Spam, you can still move it back to your inbox. After five days, your Spam folder will be automatically deleted.

To move a message from your Spam folder back to your inbox:

1. In the left panel, click the Spam folder.

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2. Click the box to the left of the message that you want to move out of the Spam folder, and then above your list of messages, click the OK NOT SPAM button.

Voila! You'll find the message back in your inbox filed under the original date you received it.

Block a Username from accessing the Spam Folder

All screen names can view the contents of the Spam folder by default. This capability cannot be disabled for screen names in the General age category. However, you can disable access to the Spam folder for screen names in the Kid, Young Teen, or Mature Teen age category in your account.

To block a screen name from accessing the Spam folder

1. Go to http://parentalcontrols.aol.com, and then sign on using your master screen name and password.

2. In the User Name section, click the screen name for which you wish to block the Spam folder.

3. Next to Edit, click emails.

4. In the email Controls section, click the Edit email Settings button.

5. On the Spam Settings page, below the Spam Settings for drop-down menu, clear the check box next to Allow this user to view their Spam folder.

6. At the bottom of the page, click Save.

7. Click OK to close the Spam Controls window.

8. At the top of the AOL Parental Controls window, click Save. The selected screen name will not be able to view the Spam folder.

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Does AOL Mail check incoming attachments for viruses?

Yes! AOL Mail scans your incoming messages and attachments for viruses to make sure the mail you're receiving is safe.

If a virus is found, one of two things will happen:

1. The virus will be removed from the attachment and a clean and safe attachment will be delivered to you.

2. The email and attachment will be returned to the sender.

Even though your messages and attachments are being scanned for viruses, the safest policy is to never download or open attachments sent from people you don't know and don't click any links in those emails.

Reporting Spam and Objectionable Mail

How do I mark an email as Spam?

Is Spam cluttering up your inbox? If so, you can mark any email as Spam and move it to the Spam folder. The more often you mark messages as Spam, the more you tune your personal Spam filter, making it better equiped to identify incoming Spam emails.

Here's how to:

Mark a message as Spam and move it to the Spam folder:

1. Click the box to the left of the message that you want to mark as spam, and then above your list of messages, click the Spam button.

That's it! The message has been moved to your Spam folder, located in the left panel.

Move a message from your Spam folder back to your inbox

Accidentally mark a message as Spam? If it's been less than five days since you marked the message as Spam, you can still move it back to your inbox. After five days, your Spam folder will be automatically deleted.

1. In the left panel, click the Spam folder.

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2. Click the box to the left of the message that you want to move out of the Spam folder, and then above your list of messages, click the OK NOT SPAM button.

Voila! You'll find the message back in your inbox filed under the original date you received it.

How do I report suspicious mail or scam emails?

If you receive an email that doesn't seem quite right, it may be a scam email. What's a scam email? It's an email that is phishing for your personal information like your Username, password, credit card information, billing information or other sensitive information. Scam emails may ask you to download an attachment, click a link, or threaten to terminate your service if you don't provide your personal information.

Get smarter about phishing by looking at email scam examples on the AOL Mail Security site.

Important: AOL will never ask for your Username, password, or other personal information through emails and an AOL representative will never send you an email with an attachment. Please know that AOL will ask you to update your billing information only by going to https://bill.aol.com/.

If you receive suspicious email, you should:

  • Do NOT give your AOL password or billing information or enter this information by clicking a hyperlink (in an email or instant message), even if the link takes you to an official-looking website.
  • If you're unsure of an email's authenticity, please forward the email to the email address aol_phish@abuse.aol.com. Highlight the message you want to forward, and then click Forward to ensure that we receive the email along with the original message.

How do I know if an email I received from AOL is legitimate?

AOL has secure technology, privacy protection controls, and restrictions on employee access to safeguard your personal information. Whenever we communicate with members, we do so by AOL Certified Mail only. AOL Certified Mail contains important information for AOL members.

You can easily identify AOL Certified Mail by the green ribbon in your message list. If it has the green ribbon, it's from us and safe to open.

For information on AOL Certified Mail, please visit our help article What is AOL Certified Mail?



AOL now offers Virus Removal services for as low as $39.99 (or it may be included in your existing plan - click here to see if you're eligible). Call 1-855-288-1686 and let one of our expert technicians access your computer from a remote location to identify and remove viruses or malware.

I receive spam emails from my own email address

Your Sent folder may offer the best clue to whether you have been hacked or spoofed.

  • If you DO find email in your Sent folder that you did NOT send: Your account has been compromised (hacked).
  • If you DO NOT find any strange email in your Sent Folder: Your account has most likely been spoofed.

Email spoofing is a technique that spammers use to send spam without it seeming like the message was from them. The spammer enters your email address in the From: field to make it seem like the spam message is coming from your AOL Mail address even though it is being sent from the spammer's email account. For more information, please visit our help article What is email spoofing and how can I tell if my account has been spoofed?

Follow the instructions given in this article to resolve this issue.

Solutions:

Report the email as spam

When you receive an email that you consider spam, you should immediately click the Report Spam button or forward the email to aol_phish@abuse.aol.com. This helps to ensure that future email from this source will go to your spam folder. Rest assured that by reporting the email as spam you are not blocking or reporting yourself! You are helping us identify the source of the spoof email.

Change your password

If you suspect unauthorized use of your account, immediately go to account.aol.com and change your password. This will lockout the unauthorized user and re-secure your account. If your account has been spoofed, this will help prevent it from being spoofed again in the future.

Note: If you still can't change your password after visiting account.aol.com, please call 1-855-622-4946 (Mon-Fri 8am-1am ET and Sat-Sun 8am-10pm ET) and we'll be more than happy to help you.

Delete your email address from your Address Book

Deleting your email address from your Address Book will help resolve this issue.

Note: Please check your address book regularly to ensure your email address is deleted from your Address Book. This will help reduce this problem.

To delete your email address from your Address Book:

1. Click the Contacts tab in the AOL Mail window.

2. In the Find Contacts box (next to Print button), type your email address.

3. Click the box next to your name, to place a check mark in it, and then click Delete.

Scan Your Computer For Virus and Spyware

Scanning your computer for viruses and spywares using AOL Virus Scan protection and AOL McAfee Internet Security Suite may solve the issue. Please ensure that the AOL software is closed before you perform the steps below.

To scan for viruses:

1.On the Windows taskbar next to the clock, right click the McAfee ( M) icon, and then click Scan.

2. Under Options, click the Scan Now button.

The Options pane has different options and their descriptions are:

  • Scan all files - Thoroughly scan all file types. Click the Scan all files box to clear it, if you wish to shorten the scanning time. This will ensure that only program files and documents get scanned.
  • Scan for unknown viruses using heuristics - Scan for new, potential viruses. It uses advanced techniques that try to match files to the signatures of known viruses. You can also be assured of a thorough scan. However, it does take more time than a normal scan.
  • Scan .zip and other archive files - Ensures that .zip and other compressed files are scanned. Sometimes virus authors plant viruses in a .zip file. This .zip file is in turn planted into another .zip file to bypass anti-virus scanners. Select this option to ensure that these viruses are not overlooked.
  • Scan for spyware and potentially unwanted programs - The software detects spyware, adware, dialers, and other potentially unwanted application. By default, this option is enabled for maximum protection.
  • Scan and remove tracking cookies - Cookies are blocks of text placed in a file on your computer. websites use cookies to identify users on subsequent visits for managing subscriptions, customizing preferences, and tracking interests.
  • Scan for rootkits and other stealth programs - Rootkits are programs that alter existing Microsoft Windows system files to escape detection. They can include spyware and other stealth programs that might create additional security or privacy to your computer data and McAfee information.

3. When the scan is complete, a pop-up window will display the details of the scan. To see the scan results of any suspicious files, click View Results.

Note: If the View Results window does not show up, then the computer is virus free.

4. Click the Finish button.



AOL now offers Virus Removal services for as low as $39.99 (or it may be included in your existing plan - click here to see if you're eligible). Call 1-855-288-1686 and let one of our expert technicians access your computer from a remote location to identify and remove viruses or malware.

The sent folder or outbox contains email that I didn't send

Are your contacts getting emails that you didn’t send? Is your Sent folder (or any other folder) suddenly empty or missing?

If so, your account has most likely been hacked (or compromised) and has been accessed by someone other than you. It usually means someone figured out your password.

Check for these signs:

  • Your inbox is full of MAILER-DAEMON rejection notices for messages you didn't send.
  • People you know are getting emails from you that you didn’t send.
  • There are outgoing messages in your Sent, Drafts or Outbox folder that you didn’t create or send.
  • Your account folders (Sent, Deleted, Spam, Inbox, etc.) have been emptied or deleted.
  • Your Address Book contacts have been erased.
  • During sign-in or when sending a message, you're asked to pass an image challenge.
  • Emails you try to send are suddenly getting refused and returned to you.
  • There are contacts in your Address Book you didn’t add.
  • You keep getting bumped offline when you're signed into your account.
  • Your Display Name has been changed or looks odd.
  • Your email signature suddenly has a link you didn’t put there.
  • You're not getting new mail, OR your new mail is going straight into your Saved IMs folder.

If you think your account has been hacked, you should:

  • Go to account.aol.com to change your password. For more information on changing your password please visit our help article Account Management: Managing your AOL Password.
    Note: The new password should be at least six characters long and include at least one number, letter (combination of upper and lower cases) and special character ($, *, &, !, etc.). Also, if you used the same password for other online accounts such as social media and financial services, change those passwords as well. Make sure these new passwords are very different from your new AOL Mail password.
  • Make sure you have a recent version of antivirus software. Run scans frequently to make sure your computer is free of all malware. (If you have not installed any antivirus software, go to AOL Internet Security Central to find the latest McAfee software provided by AOL).
  • Change your Account Security Question. For more information on updating your ASQ, please visit our help article Account Management: Managing your Account Security Question (ASQ).
  • Check your Display Name (the name people see when you send them mail) to make sure it doesn't contain the letters "AOL", "A.O.L." or "Aol". Spammers sometimes change an account's Display Name and that can cause you to see an error message when trying to send mail.
  • Review “Away Messages” in both your AOL Mail and AIM settings to ensure no one has inserted spam or other inappropriate content.
  • Review your “signatures” for AOL Mail, message board posts, and comments. Again, this is to ensure no one added spam or other inappropriate content.

If you can’t sign on with your current password…

When an email account suddenly appears tied to suspicious activity, we place a temporary hold on the account. You can access your account again by changing your password. If you’re not sure how to do so, read our help article Account Management: Managing your AOL Password.

Note: If you still can't change your password or security question (ASQ) after visiting account.aol.com, please call 1-855-622-4946 (Mon-Fri 8am-1am ET and Sat-Sun 8am-10pm ET) and we'll be more than happy to help you.

To help keep your account safe, we recommend that you:

  • Learn to spot phishing email scams. Please visit the AOL Account Security site for more information on how to best protect your account, how to spot a phishing email, and what you should do when you receive one.
  • Protect your account with comprehensive online security. You can download software to help protect your computer from viruses, spyware, hackers and even identity theft. For more information regarding safety and security for your PC, please visit AOL Internet Security Central.
  • Keep tabs on your account. Periodically check the Usernames on your account by going to account.aol.com. If you see a Username you don’t recognize, select it and click delete. If you’re missing a Username that you formerly had under your account, you can restore it by clicking Restore a Recently Deleted Screen Name from the main Screen Names menu. Check each Username's profile to make sure it hasn’t been changed.
  • Recognize AOL Certified emails. Email coming from AOL is often sent as “Certified Mail,” which means it’s marked with a unique green ribbon icon. This icon is visible from your inbox view before you open the email to help you identify authentic AOL messages.

REMEMBER: AOL employees will never ask you for your password.

Email and Instant Message scams

Email and instant messaging services allow you to quickly and easily communicate with your friends, family, and coworkers. Unfortunately, some people misuse these services and send out unwanted and unsolicited emails and instant messages (IMs). AOL provides you with the means to report unwanted email and IMs and keep yourself safe online. Check out the FAQs given below to know more.

FAQs

What is AOL Certified Mail?

When AOL needs to contact you, you'll receive an AOL Certified Mail, a feature designed to help you to easily identify email that has been sent by AOL. You can easily identify AOL Certified Mail by the green ribbon in your message list.

If you open AOL Certified Mail, you'll also see the AOL Certified Mail banner above the Subject and details of the message.

What is a fraudulent billing email?

Fraudulent billing emails are those that ask for confidential billing information (any information that is normally not required for a change of payment method, such as a driver's license number, credit card pin number, or Social Security Number).

What are file request and attachment scams?

Some email and instant message scams try to get you to download files to your computer. The files/attachments often contain viruses that may cause your computer to run incorrectly or send out your password so that someone else can access your account. The files may be presented as a picture, a game, or an electronic greeting. The best policy to keep your computer safe is to never open or accept any file unless it is an expected file from someone you know.

What are AOL-related hoaxes?

You may receive emails or instant messages from people claiming to be from AOL. If you did not initiate the contact, AOL will not contact you via instant message for any problems related to your account. All emails that you receive from official AOL sources will be by AOL Certified Mail (example above).

You may also receive messages claiming that AOL will start charging for services like instant messaging or sending email. These features are included as part of the regular AOL service and will not be charged for separately.

Back to FAQs

What is a jdbgmgr.exe (teddy bear) hoax?

You may have heard that a lot of viruses are let loose over the Internet. However, some of these viruses aren't really out there at all. Virus hoaxes are more than mere annoyances. They may lead some users to routinely ignore all virus warning messages, leaving them vulnerable to a genuine, destructive virus.

The jdbgmgr.exe hoax is a fraudulent email designed to trick users into deleting a legitimate file, jdbgmgr.exe, from their computer. Jdbgmgr.exe is the Microsoft Debugger Registrar for Java that displays the following icon.

Therefore, the email message stating that this file is a threat to your computer is a hoax. Although the jdbgmgr.exe file may become infected by a number of valid viruses (most commonly, the W32/Magistr@MM virus), the details of this hoax message are not based on actual events. We advise users who receive the email to delete the message. Please do not pass this email on as this is how an email hoax propagates.

What are chain emails and petitions?

Chain letters ask you to forward a specific message to others, often promising health, wealth, or good luck.

Petitions ask you to forward a message to others to demonstrate support for a cause.

Both chain letters and petitions create more mail in everyone's mailbox and may inadvertently give your email address to people who will send you more spam. Therefore, make sure that you do not forward such chain letters or petitions, and delete them instead.

Back to FAQs

What are pyramid schemes?

Pyramid schemes are emails that ask you to send money to someone and place your name on a list. Eventually, your name and address supposedly reaches the top of the list and others will send you money. Pyramid schemes violate the AOL Terms of Service and should not be encouraged. Please delete such emails or report them by sending an email to aol_phish@abuse.aol.com.

What are third-party charges scams?

You may receive emails claiming to be from a company that has billed your AOL payment method. These emails will include a hyperlink that leads to a Web site that asks you to either enter your Username and password or download files to your computer. The information that you enter is sent to the scammer who can then sign on to your AOL account, read your email, or violate AOL Terms of Service and eventually cause your account to be terminated. Files that you might download from such Web sites may contain computer viruses or Trojan horse programs that have been designed to steal your AOL password. Therefore, AOL strongly suggests that you do not download files or attachments in emails received from unknown senders.

What are 800 and 888 phone number scams?

Instead of asking for your password or credit card number directly, a scammer may give you an 800 or 888 number and PIN number (for a pager or similar service). When you get through and enter the PIN number, the voice recording sounds very official, saying it is AOL and asking you to reveal your password and/or credit card number. Although it sounds legitimate, it is not. Please remember that AOL will never ask for your information in such a manner.

Back to FAQs

What are junk emails, prizes, and contests?

Junk emails are any unsolicited advertising, promotional material, or other forms of solicitation masquerading as email messages. In addition to being a nuisance, junk mails can carry dangerous Trojan horse programs. These programs come to your mailbox in the form of email attachments disguised as software, screen savers, photos, or some other offers of free products. If you mistakenly download one of these attachments, the Trojan horse program captures your password and mails it back to the hacker's email address.

Contest scams try to trick you into providing your credit card or personal information in order to receive a prize that you have allegedly won. Often the scammer will claim to need the information to cover the shipping and handling costs for your prize. With this information, the scammer can make purchases with your credit card or even alter your credit information, and you never receive the prize that you supposedly won.

How do I report IM violations?

If you receive an unwanted IM, you can report the message to AOL Community Action Team.

To report IM violations on AOL 9.6, AOL 9.5, AOL 9.1, or AOL 9.0 VR
1. On the Instant Message window, click the Report IM Spam link.
2. On the Thank You window, click Notify AOL.

Note: If you just wish to report the IM as spam, select the check box next to Block all IMs from, and then click OK.

3. Type your report in the text box on the Notify AOL window.
4. Click Send Report.

To report IM violations with AOL 9.0 Security Edition
1. On the Instant Message window, click the Report IM Spam link.
2. Click OK.

To report IM violations with AOL 9.0 SE or lower
1. On the Instant Message window, click Notify AOL.
2. In the text box, type your report.
3. Click Send Report.

Back to FAQs

How do I report email violations?

If you receive unwanted or malicious email, please forward the email to aol_phish@abuse.aol.com.

What is spoofing?

Spoofing is a process of faking the sending address of a transmission in order to gain illegal entry into a secure system. Spoofing can create fake responses or signals in order to keep a session on a Web browser active and prevent the Web site from timing out. Another type of spoofing is "Web page spoofing," also known as phishing. In this type of spoofing, a legitimate Web page, such as a bank's site, is reproduced in "look and feel" on another server that is under the control of the attacker. The intent is to fool users into thinking that they are connected to a trusted site, for instance, to collect user names and passwords.

To stay safe from spoofing and phishing, ensure that you enter your personal information only on trusted and secure Web sites, and always make sure you are completely logged out of your personal accounts after you are done using them.

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