7 Tips : Avoiding Email Scams


Tip Thursday is here.

If you have an email address, chances are you have been a target of email scammers and cybercrime. Maybe you have even been a victim.

Email scams are varied and will come in many forms. From Business Opportunity Scams, Making Money By Sending Bulk E-Mails, Health and Diet Scams, Discount Software Offers, Easy Money, Chain Letters, Work-At-Home Schemes, Get Something Free, Investment Opportunities, Phishing Scams (scammers pretending to be a company in order to get your private information) to Visa Lottery Winnings.

How can you be sure of the safety of your personal online information? Follow these important tips.

  1. Beware of spam. Spam is defined as the use of electronic messaging structures to send unsolicited mail to individuals.  Stop spam from reaching your inbox by setting your email applications and web mail services. They should have spam-filtering features.
  2. Know your email. Don’t trust unsolicited email from an anonymous individual or organization. Refrain from opening an attachment to unsolicited email. Remember that even email sent from a familiar address may create problems as viruses from that person’s infected email may send messages to yours.
  3. Be cautious with your attachments. Treat email attachments with caution as they often contain viruses and trojan horses that will not only steal your information but slow down your computer’s performance.
  4. Don’t click every link. Don’t click links in email messages. Links in email address are often scammers trying to gain your personal information. Use your discretion.
  5. Antivirus software. Install antivirus software and keep it up to date so that if you do click on a email, email attachment or link, your software will block it from stealing your information.
  6. Firewall your computer. Install a personal firewall and keep it up to date. This will help prevent outbound traffic from your computer to the attacker and detect malicious software making it’s way to your mainframe.
  7. Learn and Remember. Learn the email policies of the organizations you do business with. This way you will not be confused about what information to give out. US-CERT advises that not many companies will ask  you to provide account or personal information via email, however, knowledge is power so be aware.

For more information, click Recognizing and Avoiding Email Scams. For more related tips, see Shop Online Safely.