Some days, it can feel as though we are inundated with unwanted messages. Between robocalls from unknown numbers and floods of flashy emails, spam invades our every inbox. At best, spam is a nuisance to be handled with the swift use of your delete button. At worst, spam becomes a successful attempt to steal your information.
Use the following tips and tricks to protect you and your family from the irritations (and the dangers) of spam email messages.
- Use Spam Filters
Spam filters are your inbox’s first defense against unwanted or suspicious messages. Go to your email settings and adjust blocks to your preferences, and consider downloading antivirus software to your computer that also offers email spam blocking options.
- Use Multiple Accounts
Sometimes, you actually want to sign up for those endless coupons and newsletters from stores and clubs. However, you likely don’t want to see that stuff drowning out your important emails. Use a second or third email address for signing up for store rewards or other mailing lists. This strategy will also help protect your most important email addresses from being found by other, more insidious messages that you didn’t sign up to receive.
- Teach Kids Internet Safety
Many parents let children have access to the family desktop and to their own personal devices, like laptops, cell phones and tablets. Use application locks to prevent kids from accidentally opening your email or sending messages to the wrong people. If children are old enough to have their own email accounts, be sure to teach them good online safety practices. Remind them to never give out their email address or passwords to strangers. Consider requiring your child to share their password with you so that you can monitor email use and make sure they are not being targeted by phishing emails or other dangerous messages.
- Don’t Click Links in Emails
Though somewhat obvious, this tip is especially important for protecting your personal information and for protecting your computer from viruses. Clicking on links can alert the spammer that you are a good target, and make you more susceptible to phishing. If you do not recognize the sender of an email, or if the email seems unusual and suspicious in any way (misspelled words, prize winnings offers, requests for donation, strange attachments), delete the message.
Spam emails are not only distracting– they can be dangerous. Nine out of 1,000 computers are infected with spam, but by using the tips above you can build up your computer’s anti-spam protections. Protect your kids from inappropriate messages, and your computer from hackers and thieves by being diligent and email-savvy.