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Avoid Spam, Phishing, and Hoaxes

Avoiding spam, phishing, hoaxes, and other online fraud is crucial to protect your personal information and financial assets. Here’s a comprehensive guide on how to stay safe from these online threats:

Use a Reliable Email Service
Choose a reputable email provider with robust spam filters to reduce the influx of spam emails into your inbox. Don’t forget to check your junk folder for messages mislabeled as spam. If trusted emails keep going to junk, add the email(s) to your safe list (just search the name of your email provider plus safe list or white list).

Be Skeptical of Unsolicited Emails
Don’t open emails from unknown senders (ESPECIALLY attachments), and exercise caution even when the sender’s name appears familiar. Check the sender’s email address to ensure it matches the legitimate source. Hover your mouse pointer over links or email addresses in emails to preview the actual URL or email address. Ensure they match the legitimate source.

Avoid Clicking on Suspicious Links
Be cautious when clicking on links in emails. Only click on links from sources you trust and were expecting to hear from. Check for misspellings or odd domains in URLs. Once again, hover your pointer over the address to make sure it’s sending you to the same link.

Look for HTTPS
When visiting websites linked from emails, ensure the website’s URL starts with “https://” and has a padlock icon in the address bar, indicating a secure connection.

Don’t Share Personal Information
Never provide sensitive information like Social Security numbers, credit card details, or passwords via email. Legitimate organizations will never ask for this information through email.

Be Wary of Urgent Requests
Scammers often create a sense of urgency to trick you into taking hasty actions. Verify the request through other means before acting.

Double-Check Attachments
Be cautious when opening email attachments, even if they seem to come from trusted sources. Scan attachments for viruses or malware before opening.

Use Email Filters
Set up email filters to automatically categorize or move suspicious emails to a separate folder.

Enable Two-Factor Authentication (2FA)
Use 2FA whenever possible to add an extra layer of security to your email accounts.

Report Spam and Phishing
Report spam emails to your email provider. Most email services have mechanisms to report and block spam. – If you receive a phishing email impersonating a legitimate organization, report it to the organization directly.

Keep Software Updated
Regularly update your email client, antivirus software, and operating system to protect against vulnerabilities that scammers may exploit.

Educate Yourself and Others
Stay informed about common email scams, phishing tactics, and online fraud schemes. – Educate family members, friends, and colleagues about these risks to help them stay safe.

Use Strong Passwords
Create strong, unique passwords for your email accounts and change them regularly. Consider using a password manager to generate and store complex passwords securely.

Be Wary of Hoaxes and Chain Emails
Avoid forwarding chain emails and hoaxes, as these are a great way for viruses and malware to spread. Verify the information before sharing it with others.

Check for Official Communications
Confirm the legitimacy of emails claiming to be from official organizations by visiting their official websites or contacting them directly through official channels.

By following these guidelines and remaining vigilant, you can reduce the risk of falling victim and avoid spam, phishing attacks, hoaxes, and other online frauds. Remember that skepticism and caution are your best allies in maintaining online security.

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