Tips for Avoiding Online Spam
Now that almost all of us have social media accounts and an email address, it’s easy to be hit with unwanted spam. We know our DMs and inboxes are full of it. And even though most of our email service providers filter out spam and phishing attempts for us, this process can make it even more difficult to notice when one sneaks through.
As our life online grows, it is important to keep your information protected. Look out for spam and phishing attempts on your email, social media DMs, and even text messages.
Here are our tips for keeping yourself safe:
It’s best to treat all links with suspicion. Forbes recommends:
“Always looking closely at the URL before you log into any social networking site”
“Never download an update or login via a link in an email. Type the web address into the browser yourself.”
“Be wary of shortened links (like bit.ly) and check them on a URL expander to make sure they lead to where you think they do.”
Check the email address, phone number, or username that is messaging you before clicking on any links.
For example, a scammer may have their email name as “PayPal” in order to get your financial information, but when you click to see the actual email address, it’s a flurry of random letters. This shows you this is a phishing attempt, rather than PayPal contacting you about your account.
On social media, scammers will create accounts similar to a person you are following to get money or information from you. Check to make sure the username is spelled correctly and that the posts are accurate (you can usually tell because they’ve reposted all the original photos on their feed at once).
Set up two-step verification on your email and social media accounts. You can even set this up for your online banking and other sensitive accounts.
This will send a text to your phone in order for you to log in. This not only adds another barrier to log in but also will alert you if anyone is trying to hack into your account.
Be mindful of what you share on social media and who you connect with
There are easy ways to make your account, or at least certain information, private on all major social media websites.
Make sure your privacy settings are up to date on your email service providers. All of the major email services have a spam filter, which you can research on their respective websites for more information.
A paid email service provider, like Hey, offers a filter for any new person emailing you, so you can screen emails first before you invite them into your inbox.
If someone you know is requesting money or information from you via email or social media, call or text them first to verify their request.
Create a separate email account for spam. Have this be the email account that you provide for coupon codes and other freebies in order to limit spam to your main email account.