You can’t totally prevent the pesky digital junk mail from getting into your email account.
You can, however, take some steps to diminish the number of annoying messages that you get.
Be Careful of Forwarded Email
Do you get forwarded emails from your friends and family with jokes, stories, or inspirations? They can be quite enjoyable to read. Unfortunately they can become a gift of free email addresses for spammers. Not to mention that they can also be a source of unpleasant viruses. Here’s how.
Have you ever noticed how those forwarded emails have a heap of email addresses of friends, relatives, and strangers at the top? Those are people who previously read the messages and just hit the forward button.
Not a good idea.
Why? Because a spammer can get a hold of one of those emails and have a field day with all of those addresses listed.
I know you trust your friends and family. But the friend of a friend of a relative of a friend down the line could be a spammer.
So do yourself and your friends a favor. Delete all of those names and email addresses in forwarded emails before sending them on. Also, put the email addresses of all the people you want to send it to in the BCC (Blind Carbon Copy) instead of the To: section. Then those email addresses will be hidden from potential spammers.
Another reason to be careful of these types of emails is that people can hide viruses in the images or attachments. A virus can be hidden in an image too small for you to see.
Pretty sneaky, huh?
Make sure your email account is set up to block images. If it is, it should ask you if you want to open the images of the emails that you receive. Don’t open them unless you know who the email came from and if it is safe.
It is also not a good idea to open an attachment in an email unless you know exactly what it is. They can carry Trojan viruses.
I know that many of these emails seem very innocent, but there are a few unscrupulous people out there who will send a nice, inspirational email around the world with a virus hidden in it. Sad, but true. So be careful. I personally ignore most forwards that are sent to me.
It’s not a good idea to add your email address to a list in a chain mail. It will most likely get back to a spammer. I avoid them like the plague.
Be wary of email solicitations from charities. People will create fake emails that look like they are from a charity. Don’t open them.
It is better to go to the website of a charity you know and help out there.
Of course, you probably have nothing to be afraid of if you sign up for a newsletter from one of these charities and it’s trustworthy. But newsletters are the subject of the next section.
Sign Ups and Newsletters
Did you ever get an unusual email from a friend recommending a pharmaceutical company or some other strange product or service?
Don’t open it.
A hacker more than likely broke into your friends account. Just email your friend asking about the strange email. Then you can know for sure if that person sent it or not. If he didn’t send it, he should immediately change the password on his email account.
You’ll find more info on tough passwords on my post Ways to Keep Your Accounts Safe on the Web.
Be cautious of emails from people you have never heard of. If you haven’t given them your email address, they probably shouldn’t be contacting you.
Multiple Emails Accounts
You may want to consider having multiple email accounts. I know you’re probably thinking, “I have enough to keep track of with the account I have. Why make my life more complicated with another?” Let me explain why it’s a good idea.
First of all, it is necessary to have a backup account so that if you forget your password an email can be sent to your other account.
Second, I would highly recommend having a “junk” email account. This is an email that you use when signing up for freebies that come from “iffy” sources. If you aren’t sure about the legitimacy of a site, give them your junk email address. That will help to keep your other email addresses a bit cleaner.
Some people actually have several emails including one for family and friends, one for work, one for junk, and one for financial institutions. Just something to consider.
Disposable Email Addresses
Some people use disposable email addresses to reduce spam. They give that email address out instead of a their regular one when signing up for things like downloads. These email addresses typically forward emails to a regular account.
If the disposable starts getting spam, they just close it. Here is an article telling more about six disposable email services.
What to Do When You Get Spam
Already getting some spam? Make sure it goes into your spam folder. That makes your email service a lot “smarter” about catching them and improves the spam filter.
Don’t open spam!!! Don’t even take a quick peek. Don’t reply to it. It won’t do any good. Just delete it or send a copy of it to firstname.lastname@example.org and let the government go after the spammers. The FTC has an article about spam and what to do with it.
Is your email account overloaded with spam? Then you might want to consider cancelling it and starting a new one. Sometimes it is the only thing you can do.
Spam clogs up email accounts and slows down the internet. Let’s do all we can to minimize this needless waste of digital space.
Did you find this post helpful? If so, feel free to share it with your friends.