Everybody has experienced getting spam, so everyone knows how annoying it is. Spam consists of unsolicited emails or messages which often promote fake products and services or get-rich-quick schemes. It is important that you do not respond to spam messages or click on any links they provide because many of these messages could be linked to phishing scams or viruses.
Spammers obtain people’s email addresses by purchasing lists from brokers who collect them from newsgroups, social networking sites, chat rooms and more. Spammers then target the most popular email hosting services such as Hotmail, and find weaknesses in them so that they can avoid getting caught by authorities. Spam is often routed through multiple servers as this makes it more difficult to track where it has come from.
What can you do to avoid spam?
- Install security software which includes a spam blocker and email filter, and keep it regularly updated. McAfee® Internet Security provides protection against viruses, scam emails, spyware and more.
- Protect your email address and instant messaging ID, and do not share them with strangers or send them to unknown email addresses. Use multiple email services or different things.
- Be cautious when opening or downloading email attachments and make sure your anti-virus software is active and working properly first.
- Ensure that all users in your household are aware of online risks, and tell them not to complete any forms, surveys or registrations without permission.
- Be careful of fishing scams and never open an email from a stranger or click on a suspicious-looking link.
- Choose an Internet Service Provider which will provide you with some sort of security service such as anti-virus.
- Never reply to spam emails and never share personal information online.
- Make your email address difficult to guess, like you would your password, using numbers, punctuation and upper and lower case letters. This will make spammers less likely to find you.
- Create a strong password.
- Never respond to pop up messages, as these are used by phishing scammers to get your attention.