Spam e-mails are not only annoying and time consuming, but they’re also becoming more dangerous to your personal privacy and the security of your computer. Millions of computers users are getting infected, spoofed, and tricked by phishing and ransomware e-mails every year, forcing the user to pay hefty fees to clean and restore their PCs back to working order.
To reduce the chances of your e-mail address getting on a cyber criminals list, here are 5 simple preventative measures you can take that will go a long way in keeping not-so-delicious spam out of your in-box.
1. Use a disposable e-mail address
If you buy products online or occasionally subscribe to web sites that interest you, chances are you’re going to get spammed.
To avoid your main business e-mail address from ending up on their broadcast list, set up a free Internet e-mail address with Gmail or Outlook and use it when buying or opting in to online newsletters. You can also use a throwaway e-mail address when making purchases or subscribing to newsletters.
2. Pay attention to check boxes that automatically opt you in
Whenever you subscribe to a website or make a purchase online, be very watchful of small, pre-checked boxes that say, “Yes! I want to receive offers from third party companies.”
If you do not un-check the box to opt-out, your e-mail address can (and will) be sold to every online advertiser. To avoid this from happening, simply take a closer look at every online form you fill out.
3. Don’t post your main e-mail address on your website, web forums, or newsgroups
Spammers have special programs that can glean e-mail addresses from websites without your permission. If you are posting to a web forum or newsgroup, use your disposable e-mail address instead of your main business e-mail address.
If you want to post an e-mail address on your home page, use “info@” and have all replies forwarded to a folder in your in-box that won’t interfere with your main address.
4. Create throwaway e-mail accounts
If you own a web domain, all mail going to an address at your domain is probably set up to come directly to you by default. For example, an e-mail addressed to firstname.lastname@example.org will be delivered to your in-box.
This is a great way to fight spam without missing out on important e-mails you want to get. The next time you sign up for a newsletter, use the title of the website in your e-mail address. For example, if the website is titled “www.greatwidgets.com,” enter “email@example.com” as your e-mail address. If you get spammed, look at what address the spam was sent to.
If firstname.lastname@example.org shows up as the original recipient, you know the source since that e-mail address was unique to that web site. Now you can easily stop the spam by making any e-mail sent to that address bounce back to the sender.
5. Don’t open, reply to or try to opt-out of obvious spam e-mails
Opening, replying to, or even clicking a bogus opt-out link in an obvious spam e-mail signals that your e-mail address is active, and more spam will follow. The only time it is safe to click on the opt-out link or reply to the e-mail is when the message was sent from a company you know or do business with (for example, a company that you purchase from or a newsletter you subscribed to).
To find out how we can help you minimise the risk of phishing attacks and stop the spam, contact us today to speak to one of our experts.