Top 10 Tips on Spam Emails

  1. Do not open or respond to emails that look suspicious, unusual or from someone you don't know that generally ask you to make an action such as giving information. If the email claims to be from a genuine company, but originated from a free web-based email service, it's likely to be spam.
  2. Do not open an attachment you weren't expecting (i.e. Invoices, Faxes etc.) especially if you don't know the sender. Often malicious Viruses masquerade as Word documents or some other file type. Spammers can easily change an .EXE extension of a malicious file to .DOC
  3. Do not click on a link in an email unless you are 100% sure it is safe to do so. It is easy to interject an infected hyperlink into an email. If in doubt, delete it.
  4. Don't be fooled by ‘phishing’ attempts. Someone somewhere will try to get personal information from you. You should never give out personal details over email or fill in a form that pops up when you open up an email.
  5. Be wary of messages from companies that already have your email address. A popular tool among spammers is to act as if they are from your bank suggesting you need to change your password. In cases such as these, it is best to check the banks' website for details or call their helpdesk to ensure your account is in order. Also, note that banks and other organisations do not normally contact you via email for security purposes.
  6. If you receive an email from someone you don't know or one that looks suspicious, don't accept it. If it is from a colleague but not using the University email address, contact them to see if it is legitimate.
  7. Don't post your work email address on forums, websites and blogs unless absolutely necessary. Spammers gather these addresses and use them for spamming.
  8. Never reply to a spam message. This includes the 'unsubscribe' link. When you click on this link, it actually informs the sender of the spam that your e-mail address is a legitimate e-mail address. Once the spammer knows that your e-mail address actually exists (they don't know for sure until you reply to the message) this can open you up to more spam. This does not necessarily indicate that all 'unsubscribe' links are bad, they are actually required if you are signed up for a mailing list, but if you haven't signed up for the mailing list, then it's spam, so don't click on the 'unsubscribe' link.
  9. Use a spam filter. If you use Outlook, use the 'junk' mail filter. This is really good at filtering out most of the spam. Make sure you check your junk mail folder before emptying it. Sometimes a legitimate e-mail does get put into the junk mail folder, but this is rare, and easy to correct if it does (right click on the actual message, a menu comes up, go to junk mail, another menu will fly out, and then click on either 'Add Sender to Blocked Senders List' or 'Add Sender to Safe Senders List'). But be aware, if you are going to add them to the blocked senders list, make sure that you have repeatedly gotten spam e-mail from the same sender over and over. If you haven't then chances are, the spammer has moved on to the next e-mail address and won't use that e-mail address again.
  10. In case you have opened an email with a malicious attachment or clicked on what that might have been a malicious link, Contact the IT Services helpdesk immediately for assistance.