[EMAIL] Is your Inbox consistently full of spam?

tt756spam1Do you spend way too much time getting rid of these unwanted emails, and wish they would stop?

Well, you are not alone. Spam has become a huge time waster for anyone with an email address. Although you may not be able to prevent it completely, there are some proactive steps you can take to at least reduce the amount you are getting.

So What is Considered Spam and Just Why Do You Get it?

Simply put, spam is unsolicited email sent to a large group.  Typically it is undesired by the recipient.

However, it is not considered spam if you signed up to receive email from someone… such as making an online purchase — or signing up for a newsletter, even inadvertently.

Many times these notes are advertising in nature, but they can also be harmful and sent with malicious intent. Spammers send emails to reel you into opening attachments or click on links that can be…

  • Phishing scams – a way they try and collect your personal information to defraud you
  • Malware (bad software) that will be installed on your computer
  • Schemes to “Get Rich Quick” or “Make Money Fast”
  • Foreign bank and advance fee fraud schemes
  • Fake health products and remedies
  • Ads for lewd websites
  • Illegally pirated software
  • And more…

One particularly tricky technique spammers use … is to send a note that appears as if it were from someone you know.  But the subject and the intro text is unusual.  Then if there is a link they want you to click.  Don’t!

If you really think it might be a real email, verify that your friend actually sent it.

Here’s an example.  I know Sherry, but she didn’t send this.
When you open this email you see...
Most people are mindful enough to delete these types of emails, but spammers are playing a numbers game in sending to thousands of people in hopes that a handful will take the bait.

How Can You Tell If an Email is Spam?

So what can you do if you receive an email and are not sure if it’s legitimate? The following can be telltale signs of spam:

  • The “from” email address does not look right. For example, they may have tried to make it appear as if it’s from a bank, by adding some characters to the address, like support@BankofAmericaforyou.com.
  • The content may have broken English, mis-spelled words.
  • It asks for personal information.
  • The subject line contains urgent or threatening language.
  • There is no email signature block … or it is especially skimpy.
  • It appears to be from a government agency. NOTE: Usually, email broadcasts are not the first point of contact government entities uses to reach you.
This email example appears to be selling LED bulbs. Red flags include: non-company branded email address, broken English, lack of email signature with contact information...

This email example appears to be selling LED bulbs. Red flags include: non-company branded email address, broken English, lack of email signature with contact information…

If you suspect an email is spam, do NOT open it and do NOT open any attachments.

How Can You Reduce the Amount of Spam Emails that Hit Your Inbox?

Unfortunately, we need to guard and protect our email address as if it is a small child in a toy store! Here are some strategies to implement if you want to reduce spam coming into your mailbox:

  • tt756spam5Protect it! Be cautious using your email address anywhere it could be accessible to the general public.
  • Multiple email addresses. Use “disposable” email addresses (like from Gmail or Yahoo) when you place online orders or sign up for websites or services that you do not absolutely trust. (See Tech-Talk article in archives for more on this.)
  • Lock it down. Make sure to use secure passwords for your email account to prevent hackers from logging in to use your email address to send out spam to others.
  • Educate others. Reduce email exposure by letting people who have you on a large recipient list know that you prefer the use of the BCC option, instead of the To or CC.
  • Spam filter. Use an email spam filter. There are many low-priced options available. Check with your organization’s IT department for recommendations.