Do you have a crowded inbox? Are you tired of receiving emails in broken English from dubious contacts like email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org, pushing all kinds of delightfully sketchy once-in-a-lifetime offers? Yep…spam can be pretty annoying.
We all know by now that spam isn’t only a canned meat product, but is also a term used to describe the bulk sending of unsolicited email. The “spammers” who engage in this unethical activity not only attempt to sell you shady products, but also frequently use other tactics to obtain your personal information.
You may be asking yourself, what steps can I take to protect myself from the annoyance and security risks associated with spam? Well look no further. Here are seven steps to help you in your fight against this common web enemy:
Step 1. Don’t post your email address on a public forum or website
Spammers will often look for your email address on public websites or forums. They automatically scan websites to obtain huge lists of email addresses. While sometimes it may not be possible for you to hide your email address on public websites, if you have to disclose it, try writing it out in a creative way or make an image from your contact information.
Step 2. Setup different/additional email accounts
Perhaps you already use a few different email accounts? If not, try creating several new ones and then separate your incoming email into different email accounts, which can be used for different purposes: one for your friends, one for entertainment, one for finances etc.
Step 3. Beware of email offers that sound too good to be true i.e. scammers
Scammers are really good at making an email look like it came from an official institution, like your bank for instance. These low-life opportunists try to get your account number and password with lines like “Your credit card has expired. Please confirm your card details again so we can renew it”. Always remember, real companies will never ask you these type of questions. If you receive an email of this sort, exercise caution and delete it immediately or you’ll like end up paying for it (literally!)
Step 4. Don’t reply to spam!
Spammers know they have a valid email address when you reply to their emails. If you do reply, the door is open for the spammer to bombard you with a whole lot more annoying garbage. Also don’t click on any hyperlinks within a potential spam email. Clicking on any address hyperlinks within a spam email may activate the downloading of a virus or spyware without your knowledge!
It is great to receive emails from sites that you like, but always read the privacy terms on the site before registering for any regular communications. It is better to know what you are signing up for first, as the fine print can sometimes grant the site owner the right to sell your email address to others.
Step 6. Avoid downloading pictures in spam emails
Downloading pictures will notify the spammer that their message has been opened. Only download images from emails received by trusted senders.
Step 7. Use privacy controls on social networking sites
Please be careful how much information you share on social networking sites and also be careful who you add to your friends list.