Safe Email Practices
The days of licking stamps are long gone. These days the most common way we communicate is through email. It’s projected that by next year, 2.5 billion people will use email and send hundreds of billions of messages every day. Email is fast and convenient, but is it safe? Not so much. And unfortunately, there’s no exact method to ensure email security. There are a few things you can do to increase the safety of your email messages.
Choose a password that is complex – something that would be impossible for someone else to guess. Avoid using birth dates, children’s names, and the word “password.” You may want to include a combination of numbers and letters, upper and lowercase, and maybe throw in a symbol or two. If it’s a password so tricky even you have a hard time remembering it, write it down and put it somewhere safe, but not obvious.
Watch Your Back
Every time you send an email, you run the risk that it will be intercepted by someone other than for whom it was intended. Be careful not to include passwords or other confidential information in email messages and always remember to log out of your email account so the next user will not have direct access to personal information.
Avoid Dangerous Attachments
Never, ever click on a link or attachment in an email that seems suspicious to you. Doing so can infect your computer with malware, software used to gather sensitive information or virus’ designed to attack your system. It’s worth asking the sender if it’s a legitimate message before you click on something questionable.
Protect Yourself Against Spam
A great way to protect yourself from spam is never use your primary or work email account for online transactions. Set up a separate email account for this purpose. That way, you won’t be bogged down with pesky emails that waste your time. You can also block what you define as junk email as many email programs have built-in filters that can help you separate wanted from unwanted email.
Keep Your System Updated
Make sure your computer system has up-to-date virus protection software. Stay current with software updates and upgrades. Run scans often and remove all malicious software.
Know the Rules
If multiple people access the same email account in your office, make sure they all understand the rules of safe emailing. Develop a set of guidelines and make sure everyone has a copy and understands their responsibilities.
Email fraud is not something that should be taken lightly. Be aware and be safe. These steps are quite easy and well worth your time as they can protect you from a lot of headache and grief.