How to Protect Yourself against Spam
Email is something that most of us will now take for granted. We now expect to be able to send off a message whenever the mood strikes us with the knowledge that it will almost instantly appear in the receiver's inbox. It can be hard to imagine how people managed to stay in touch before this invention – the postal service was slow and letters were always getting lost. There is a downside to this technology though. The price we have to pay for this easy and free way to communicate is problems like spam.
Dangers of Spam
Receiving obvious spam in your inbox can be annoying, but it is usually simple to delete it. The real problem is the scam that isn’t so obvious. This unsolicited email can be dangerous for a number of reasons including:
- It may be part of a phishing scam designed to trick you out of money or steal your identity.
- It could contain malicious software.
- It could contain a link that directs you to a website where your computer will become infected.
- It could contain misleading information that convinces you to make poor choices.
Probably the most dangerous type of spam involves phishing emails. This is an attempt to get you to provide personal details, or to hand over some money. A common example of this would be an email that appears to be from your bank and tries to panic you into logging into your account. You will be asked to use the link in the email which will take you to a fake online baking login area. Instead of logging into your bank, you will actually be supplying your password and other details to the criminals. This type of email can be very convincing, and it is a type of online crime that is on the rise.
How to Protect Yourself against Spam
Here are a few ideas for how you can protect yourself from spam emails:
- Never just automatically click on any link in an email. Make sure you know where it is taking you to first – you can reveal the destination of the link by hovering over it with your mouse.
- Avoid opening any attachments in an email unless you are certain about what it contains. Attachments are often used by criminals to introduced malware.
- Use the filter options on your email account to automatically send most spam email to the junk folder.
- One of the key things you will want to do in order to protect yourself against spam is to install quality anti-virus software. Some of these products have features which help protect specifically against spam.
- If you get an odd email from friends or family asking for money, make sure that it is actually from them. It could be that their email account has been hacked.
- It is a bad idea to reply to spam email. It just puts you on the criminal’s radar because these people will now know that it is a functional address.
- It is a good idea to have two email accounts. You can use one of these for friends and family and one for signing up to things online.
- If you want to become a member of an online community, you will usually be asked to provide your email address. There may also be a tiny box that you need to tick in order to get (or not to get) an email newsletter – it is usually best to say no to the newsletter if you are serious about reducing spam.
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