Part 2: Email, Spam, and Phishing.


So you have an email account! Great, I probably have a dozen. Perhaps you should have more than one email address too. Why you ask? I shall tell you shortly!

I assume you know what electronic mail is since you have found my blog post. If you don’t then let me warn you that your Personal Computer is going to implode as you finish reading this post and arrive at the bottom of your browser! Ker-BOOM! Alright, you scrolled to the bottom and nothing happened so read on!

Email addresses are so cheap that they are even free these days. What better bargain can you possible get in our world today? I’m not going to tell you which to use, which is better, or which will clean up your kitchen before you have finished emailing your friends. There are some very obviously better choices so just do an online search or stick with your current provider if you already have one.

If you have an email address that is linked to your Internet service provider or package I strongly urge you to get an independent email address as quickly as possible. Gently over time, transfer your friends over to that new account. If you cancel your service or they go bankrupt you will lose your email address.

The best solution is to purchase a and set up your own email addresses. You can then point it to any email service provider of your choice. If you need to change your service provider, your email address remains the same as long as you renew your domain every year. Most of my domain email addresses are forwarded to Google Mail. You may see my email address but it actually is all managed at Google Mail. This is a little more complex so just ignore this paragraph if you are drawing a blank already!

No one likes email Spam. Even people new to the Internet and the joys of email do not find Spam interesting after the 7thday! Sadly, this is the state and reflection of humanity that we see mirrored in our Spam folders.

If you want to limit the amount of Spam and other such annoying rubbish from your daily communications with your friends and loved ones, you need to have at least two email addresses. Listen to me carefully! You need to very separate email addresses. At least two.

Please don’t collect email addresses like people collect “Friends” on Social Media. It is quite pointless and it blocks someone else from getting the email address they desire. You probably also don’t use those accounts and have long since forgotten the passwords to access them.

Now we arrive to the topic of management and discipline. The email address you set up to keep contact with your friends and family must NEVER be used for any other purpose. Discourage your friends from sharing this email address online! So, no E-Cards, no suggestions to sign up to online sites, no invitations to ANYTHING! You use it just to send email to those you want to keep in contact with.

Your second email address – often called a “Throwaway” email for obvious reasons – is where everything else goes to. Use it to sign up on Social Media, notifications, news lists, groups, E-Cards, etc.

You can, of course, set up more email addresses to keep things neatly segregate but mostly you just want to keep the spam out of your personal emails. Once you get so much spam that you can no longer even see the “Email for the Spam”, it is possible time to “Throwaway” the email and get a new one.

A lot of Phishing is done via email. Scammers, spammers, and other annoying characters harvest your precious email addresses from online opportunities. Every time you insert your email address online, it goes into a database of some sort and is almost always sold on to second and even third parties to abuse. Second parties are usually the annoying salespeople. Third parties is where serious slide to Spam begins!

Once it is out there… it is OUT THERE! So try to not put your private email address out there too much. Never actually publically post your email address even if your replace the @ sign with the word “at”. Rather share your email address through a private message where possible. If you need to share an email address publicly then make sure it is a “Throwaway” account.

Spammers love online email addresses. It is a great way to build up a Spam database. There is another way they get hold of long lists of valid email addresses. Emails that are forwarded without clearing out all the previous people’s email addresses from the body of the email are such a huge mistake! Once that email gets forwarded (a good example of how this happens is through Joke Emails) into the wrong hands, your email address is marked for life!

Do not allow yourself to be scammed. Think logically! Does your bank email you ANYTHING confidential? Do they even bother to ever call you on the phone? So why would they contact you via email. I’m not talking about promotional emails here but those requesting any kind of information that they already should have. If you log onto your online banking do it through your OWN bookmarks or shortcuts.

If you hover you mouse cursor over these links in scam emails you will see in the status bar that the link is not as shown but in fact to some other strange address that has nothing to do with your bank. For example, click on this banking link below!

It looks like it would take you to a real bank but instead you came right back here to this post didn’t you? Now check the link. Always Hover and check! Some browsers have different options. You may be able to right click and select the link’s properties which will reveal where it is actually going.

If you do not know of any long lost family why would he or she know you and leave you a fortune in US Dollars? Really? He or she tracked you down on death’s door? I’m not saying do investigate and check online but don’t fall for it. The key here is that lawyers wouldn’t email you. They have no idea what your current email address is. They would either telephone you in person or send you a registered letter.

Often you can take the subject or main line in these emails, and then paste it into a search engine together with the word “+Spam” or “+Scam” and sites will often let you know it is a scam. Learn to research and keep a critical eye open.

Oh boy! You won the UK Lottery! Millions of Pounds are now yours for the collection! Did you play this above mentioned lottery? No? Goodness! So the lottery managers took your name from a foreign telephone address book, conscientiously played the lottery on your behalf and then when you miraculously won, they even went so far as to email the notification to you.

On a last but important note… please do NOT treat your work email addresses as your own personal/private domain! It is not! It belongs to the company and they “allow” you the use of “their” facilities. Your personal emails have no place in the work environment.

Still not convinced? Well, think of it in privacy terms. The company’s work email server has your email. You do not have any control over that. It can be terminated at any time, the boss can snoop around if he likes, and any email deleted can live on forever on the company servers, even after you resign!

Since the emails are sometimes kept even if you delete them on your end it can be used against you. Do you really want your boss to know what you are up to? If you truly value your privacy then leave your work email address strictly for work and do not sign up for “Naughty Pic a Day” services with it!

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