April 15, 2008

Tech Tip: Beware Of Email Spam And Scams

Email is a convenient form of communication which has been blighted by an abundance of unwanted and unrequested mail messages known as spam. Spam is basically any form of unsolicited mail and it is usually sent to multiple recipients. Besides cluttering your inbox, spam can also be dangerous as many scams use it to lure victims.

Nigerian bankers, dead relatives etc…
Beware of email scams from “Nigerian bankers” or other people asking you to invest money in obscure schemes. These email scams are infamous for their shady methods and it is very unlikely that you will get any money from them. It is more likely that you will lose whatever money you send to the individual(s).

MSN is closing, send this to save a child etc…chain letters
These chain letters do not ask you for money but ask you to forward an email to many people to avoid something bad from happening. First of all, no email company will beg you to forward emails because forwarding emails uses bandwidth which these same internet companies have to pay for. Secondly, companies do not pay for email forwards and would need privileged access to email accounts to even track who has forwarded an email to a certain number of friends. With the large amount of email traffic on the internet this is neither trivial to accomplish nor economical to attempt.

How to deal with spam
When you receive spam i.e. unsolicitated email it is best to delete it immediately without opening it. The reason for this is that spam may include a virus or by simply opening a spam email a spammer may be able to determine that your email address is active and send you more spam. This technique usually involves images included in the email so it is advisable to disable the loading of images in emails from people you do not know.

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