What is spam? According to Wikipedia “to send unsolicited bulk messages indiscriminately.” Spam has been around much longer than the internet. In the late 19th Century Western Union allowed telegraphic messages to be sent to multiple locations. Up until the Great Depression wealthy Americans would be deluged with unsolicited telegrams with investment offers.
We no longer have to worry about telegrams but with spam averaging 78% of all email sent we are still experiencing a deluge. Below are a few tips to help you slow the flood and distinguish the good from the spam.
1. If you start receiving emails from a company that you didn’t provide with your email, don’t use the unsubscribe option. When you do that you are confirming to the spammer this is a valid email address. Use the spam filtering options in Outlook, Trend Micro, or ESVA to block these emails.
2. Turn off the “Reading Pane” in Outlook. When you use the reading pane you are opening the email, for better or worse. Emails can contain distinct images that when loaded provide the sender feedback of the exact user that opened the email.
3. No legitimate company will ask you to send personal or sensitive information via email. If you are unsure if an email is legit. Call the company directly or go to their known website for help. Don’t click links provided in the email. Don’t call the phone number provided in an email.
4. If it sounds to good to be true or far fetched, check www.snopes.com. Snopes.com is the definitive Internet reference source for urban legends, folklore, myths, rumors, and misinformation.
5. Ask an IT professional. Please don't hesitate to call if you receive a email that doesn't seem right. When in doubt don't open it.