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Combating email spam

Self help Computing

The topic for today is spam, and not the tasty tinned kind. Agent Matthew Stephens is here to help you spot, prevent and remove unwanted marketing or phishing messages from your email inbox, to protect you and your info from prying eyes and a mountain of digital paperwork.

Almost everyone with an email account gets spam messages on a regular basis. Especially if you sign up to company newsletters or tick the ‘yes, please contact me’ box when completing an online purchase. But don’t worry, I’m going to help you spot and deal with email spam like an Agent.

Agent tip

Check the settings area of your email account to see if there's a 'spam filter' section which will allow for customisation and help with protection.

How do I identify a spam message? 

Some spam messages contain product information from companies, while others have links to infected sites or requests for funding from fake foreign dignitaries. If you ever receive an email with a dodgy subject line, strange looking link or a request for your personal details, even if it’s from a contact, don’t reply, open any attachments or links.


How do I prevent spam?

  • Turn your spam filter on. A spam filter scans incoming emails for common spam keywords and phrases, like ‘money back guarantee’, for example. Most free and business email accounts have spam filters built-in, including Gmail, Yahoo! And Hotmail. Make sure yours is turned on in email settings.
  • Read every sign up form. Never sign up for anything on a website, application or social network before reading the form. Some companies will get paid to provide databases full of consenting people to third parties, who will then send out spam or marketing emails on a regular basis. Look out for the box that says "yes you can share my information" and make sure it is de-selected.
  • Get a good internet security suite. While business email providers generally have antivirus suites to scan email attachments and prevent spam, some free email providers don’t. Getting a good internet security suite for your home PC or laptop is beneficial. Kaspersky, Bullguard and Trend all do great internet security packages that have anti spam and email attachment scanners built-in.

What do I do if email spam gets into my inbox?

If something that looks like spam gets through your email filter, for instance an email entitled ‘I can haz your moneys and your house?’ don’t be afraid of it. Simply select the offending message and

Agent tip

If you receive an SMS text message you're not sure about or don't recognise the person who sent it, don't reply or click on any links in the message.

click the ‘Report Spam’ button. This will then add the sender to your block list and send all emails coming from that address straight to your Spam Folder. Unfortunately, most spam doesn't come from the same sender, so the filter also stores key phrases, words and other information to help it to increase its awareness.

In Conclusion

Email spam can be effectively dealt with and prevented. Be vigilant with every email you open, every attachment you download and every link you follow, and keep a good internet security suite installed on your PC.

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