In today’s digital world, email is one of the main ways we contact each other. 14 years ago, Congress signed a set of rules called the CAN-SPAM Act designed to protect consumer privacy and limit the amount and type of unsolicited marketing messages they receive.
Email Mistakes to Avoid
Jackie here. Are you using email safely? If not, you could be exposing yourself to scams, phishing attempts, malware, ID theft, and a host of other problems. How can you protect yourself? Avoid these risky email practices for a safer email experience.
Clicking on Unknown Links
If you’re not absolutely certain about a link, don’t click it. Scammers often use links to install malware on your computer. A link in an email from someone you know isn’t necessarily safe. It is possible their account has been compromised. If an email looks off, don’t click the links. Here are some warning signs for potentially scammy/spammy emails.
Just a Link– The email is from someone you know (or someone you don’t know), but all you get is a link, no explanation. Don’t click. This is a common sign of spam coming from a compromised account.
Spelling and Grammar Errors– Spelling and grammar errors are a good indication that something’s wrong with an email, especially if the email appears to come from a professional source, like a bank, large store, etc. Thieves often use corporate logos and similar looking email addresses to lend credibility to their scams. Bad grammar usually means something’s not right.
Requests for Personal Information– Big companies won’t typically ask you to click on a link and supply personal information. If you get this request, don’t do it. Also be on alert for promises of prizes, money, savings, etc. when you click a link and enter your information.
Not Choosing a Strong Password
If it seems like we’re constantly reminding you about strong passwords, we are. This is one of the most important ways to protect your accounts, but too many people let it slide. Choose a strong password. It may be tempting to recycle passwords across multiple accounts or to choose a simple, easy to remember password, but for your email account, security is a must. Your email account is the gateway to your online identity. Also, avoid the urge to save or store your password on your browser or mobile device.
Sending Stuff You Shouldn’t
There are some things you should never send in an email. Don’t send your Social Security number, your driver’s license number, account numbers, passwords, etc. in an email, even if you know and trust the recipient. If this information needs to be communicated, use the phone or tell the recipient in person.
Not Cleaning Up
Even if you’re doing everything right, there are times that sensitive information may end up in your inbox. If this happens, delete the email immediately and empty your trash. This tip isn’t foolproof, however, so it’s best to take the proper precautions when it comes to protecting your information and only use this step as a last resort.
Every so often, give your inbox a quick check, looking for sensitive information that shouldn’t be there. If your account is compromised, you’ll be glad that this important information isn’t easily accessible.
When you check your inbox, also check your security settings and ensure that your recovery information is up to date, just in case you lose access to your account.
Email can be a valuable tool, but if you don’t use it carefully, you’re putting yourself at risk for ID theft. How do you keep your inbox secure?