We are required to give up our email address to view content or to post a comment at so many sites so that they can put us in their email distribution list. Once they have our address they can use it to try and sell us things in the future. Legitimate companies will not sell your email to third parties, continue to email you when you have asked them to stop and honor that check box that reads, “I do not wish to receive emails…”
Over time, we have become so used to coughing up our email address and posting it online that we forget, not everyone who captures our email address is going to use it in a legal and ethical way. To prevent these types from being able to use our email to send you spam, make a note of the following mistakes so that you can avoid making them.
1. Giving out your email address on social networks
Using social networks are not only a fun way to keep in touch with others, but it can be a great way to get your work done as well. By offering real time communication, file sharing and collaboration social networks have become a tool used by many in the workplace.
However one of the biggest mistakes people make when it comes to social networks is sharing their email address on them. Like any other site, data can be mined from the various social networks – and that includes your email address. If it is posted on there, even if it is “private”, it can be captured and added to a spammer’s mailing list with ease.
2. Listing your email address on your personal or company website
Just like social networks, spammers scour the Internet for those unfortunate souls who list their email address on a public facing website. With inexpensive software a spammer can collect thousands of email addresses to use in their next campaign with very little effort.
Obviously you will want to keep your email address off any personal websites you might have. Instead of using a link or even the email in content opt for a contact form instead. At work, discuss the company policy for how emails are listed and make sure that your supervisor is aware of the problems associated with this.
3. Replying to spam emails
The CAN-SPAM Act requires that legitimate email marketers include an unsubscribe link on all emails they send to you. Most of them will take you off the list if you request it.
Spammers, on the other hand, will use this to identify email addresses that are real and not ones set up for registration purposes only. If you did not sign up to receive emails then don’t click on any links. Simply throw the emails away when they make it past the spam filter.
4. Using your good email address to register online
In addition to your work email address and your personal email address you should keep one that you use when you are asked to register for something online. This helps keep the junk mailing down to a minimum in your good email inboxes and it prevents these addresses from being sold off by less than ethical people who have collected your address.
Once this email address starts getting spammed too much, you can forget it and register a new one to use.
5. Not being an educated user
Whenever there is a new version of a software package many of us jump at the opportunity to educate ourselves on how to use it. Unfortunately, many of us do not show the same enthusiasm when it comes to keeping current on trends that involve spamming, phishing or other security issues.
By making sure that we read up on the different tactics and trends that are related to email security topics we can better protect ourselves, and our employers, as well will be able to better identify the different attacks that come through our email and help to keep our email addresses from falling into the hands of the bad guys.