E-mail and Instant Messaging (IM) are a great way to keep in touch with friends and family. However, using either of these communication resources will leave you vulnerable to viruses, spyware, spam, phishing scams, etc. There are some simple ways to keep you and your personal information secure.
Only open e-mails from senders you recognize – Just the act of opening an infected e-mail can download a virus or spyware onto your computer. Even worse, opening an attachment within an email can be potentially dangerous. Delete any e-mails from senders that don’t look familiar to you. Also, never be tempted to respond to any e-mails from people you don’t know.
Be wary about who you give your e-mail address to – Only give your email address to friends and family. If you will be signing up to any online websites, try using a free web mail account for subscriptions or postings.
Watch out for Phishing scams – Be careful about emails asking for your personal information or offering links to websites. These scams masquerade as legitimate companies, like your bank, and try to lure you into giving up your personal information, such as your account number or social security number. Never click on a link inside of an e-mail – the majority of companies and all financial institutions will never request information in this way.
Use additional defenses on your computer – Make sure you have installed a good anti-virus program on your computer. Preferably, it should be one that checks your files real time and scans your incoming and outgoing e-mails.
Be careful when using Instant Messaging – Never give out your personal information when IM’ing or accept strangers into your IM group. Use a nickname as your IM name to help protect your identity.
Lock it down – Use strong passwords for your e-mail, IM and any websites you sign up to. Strong passwords include capitals, numbers and special characters. Use a complex e-mail address – try to use letters and numbers in a unique combination to throw off hackers.
Top 10 Spam Subject Lines Reported by AOL Members: August 2010
- Grant money for education
- Returned mail: see transcript for details
- SEE PHOTOS OF AVAILABLE SINGLES IN YOUR AREA!!
- Credit Card Companies Could Erase Your Debt! See If You Qualify for Relief!
- Brain Game Trial, Enjoy it!
- Individual and Family Health Plans - AS LOW AS $99.
- Pay your house off in 5-7 years
- Local Restaurant Coupons now available for download
- MEMBERS-ONLY SALES on DESIGNER FASHIONS
- Someone invited you to view photos on MySpace