Important Email Safety Tips

by cbschulstad

Don’t Open Emails from People/Companies You do not Know

This is the first and most important rule. I myself have gotten malware because I didn’t follow this rule. It created a lot of grief and a lot of wasted time. If you don’t know the sender, DELETE IT.

Watch Out for Phishing E-mails
“Phishing e-mails” are sent with the purpose of fraudulently obtaining your personal identification and account information, or luring you into downloading malicious software. The sophistication of these scams continues to increase all the time, so it’s more important than ever to be careful about how and when you choose to share sensitive information like account numbers, passwords, or personal information.
Here are some common themes to phishing e-mails so that you can better identify them and protect yourself:

  • Any e-mail with an urgent request for personal or financial information should be treated with caution.
  • Any e-mail with scary, false statements designed to get you to provide information immediately. They typically request usernames, passwords, date of birth, social security number, credit card numbers or other personal information. Whereas, most legitimate companies will never request that you send sensitive information via e-mail.

Also look for links included in an e-mail, instant message or chat. They may be masking links to another site. Holding your mouse over a link without clicking it should prompt a small window to come up next to the link. That window contains the actual URL you would be directed to if you clicked the link. If that URL does not appear to match the link representing it, never click on it, as this could initiate virus installations.

Don’t Reply to Any E-mail Requesting Personal Information
Legitimate Companies will never send you any e-mail that requests you reply directly in an e-mail with personal information and will not send you e-mail requesting that you reply with personal or private information, such as:

  • Account numbers
  • Cardmember ID (CID)
  • Card expiration date
  • Account Center user ID or password
  • Date of Birth
  • Driver’s license number
  • Mother’s maiden name

Never E-mail Confidential Information
Regular e-mail is not a secure method of sending private information.

Beware of Unknown Senders
If you don’t know the sender, delete it. Some e-mail may contain viruses while other e-mails may be fishing for live addresses. Do not respond or “unsubscribe,” this only confirms they’ve reached an active e-mail account and will usually increase the amount of unsolicited e-mails you receive.

Beware of Email Forwards Warning of Internet Threats
A lot a clients forward a scary email to me that they received, warning of impending internet danger. They are usually very specific and almost always come from a supposed reliable higher up at Microsoft. These emails flood the internet with junk because they get forwarded on and on and on. If you use the suggestions above, you can delete these emails and feel secure.