HERE ARE WAYS TO AVOID SPAM and a few things to look out for!
Nobody likes getting spam email. It clutters up your inbox, tests your patience, and sometimes even has the audacity to scam you into giving up your private details!
For those of you who are still unsure on how to discern the difference between a genuine email and a scam email, check out our past newsletters (here and here). Never be fooled again!
So, once you’ve recognised that there are indeed scam and spam emails littering your inbox, what can you do to deal with them? Here are five helpful tips on how to deal with and avoid spam email.
1. USE A SPAM FILTER
Most email platforms will give you the option to mark any email as spam. Doing this will redirect any future emails that you receive from that email address straight to your Spam or Junk folder, keeping your inbox squeaky clean. It will also prevent any emails that possess the same properties (for example what the email is about, its language, how many other people are receiving it, etc.) from reaching your inbox. Whenever you’re certain that you don’t wish to see emails like this in your inbox anymore, mark it as spam.
To do this, open up the spam email, and look for the option to mark it as spam or junk. For instance, on Gmail, you’ll see a series of icons along the top of the email. Click on the exclamation mark icon. This will “Report spam”. As another example, for Outlook users, you’ll see an icon that says “Junk” along the top of the email. Clicking on this icon will mark the email as junk.
Make sure that the email is truly spam before reporting it as such. If you mistakenly mark an important or relevant email as spam, any future important or relevant emails that you may receive from that email address will end up in your spam folder, and you might miss them.
2. CREATE A JUNK EMAIL ADDRESS
This may seem like a lot of extra effort, but it’ll save you from oodles of inconvenience in the future. Create another email account, whose only purpose is to cop the spam!
What this means is that every time you’re required to sign up for something, such as an online account required to use a particular website, you don’t have to use your main email address; you can use your junk one instead. This way, any potential spam that you may receive from that website will be sent to the junk email address. Your main inbox will remain spam-free, and you can still use the website!
Remember, only sign up for an online account using your junk email address when you’re sure that you won’t be interested in receiving emails from the host. You don’t want to miss out on anything potentially important or helpful.
2. BE CAUTIOUS BEFORE YOU CLICK UNSUBSCRIBE
For most legitimate senders, there will be a link to “Unsubscribe” from future emails. Clicking on this will prevent you from ever receiving any emails from this address again in the future.
However, though this is often the first course of action that most people take in response to spam, many forget to exercise caution in clicking on links from suspicious emails. Oftentimes, scam emails will be riddled with links, which you should absolutelyNOT click on! These links can lead you to malicious pages that inflict your computer with viruses.
Naturally, many scammers will mask these links behind an “Unsubscribe” button. If you suspect that an email may be a scam, do NOT click on any links within the body of the email, including “Unsubscribe”. Mark the email as spam, and move on!
4. DO NOT REPLY TO THE EMAIL
It may seem tempting to fire back to an annoying spam email with a snarky retort, but avoid doing this at all costs to your pride! Responding to a spammer will only let them know that your email address is active. This will spur them to keep spamming you incessantly.
You don’t want that!
For anyone who’s interested, here’s a funny YouTube video about what happens when you do reply to spam!
5. NEVER FOLLOW INSTRUCTIONS OR OPEN ATTACHMENTS
Scammers will employ several different ways to scam you in a single email. Not only should you avoid clicking on links, but you should also avoid following any instructions (for example, instructions to unsubscribe) or, importantly, opening any attachments. Clicking on these attachments is the easiest way to download a malicious virus onto your computer.In the digital age, there are all sorts of creative means to fool innocent people online. Make sure that you stay ever-vigilant when it comes to email – approach every suspicious email with skepticism.
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