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Email Security

Most Viruses and other Malware (software that can potentially do harm) arrives on your PC via email and the best way to avoid this is simply to be very careful what email you open and any links you click on in those emails.

If you use an email program like Outlook or Outlook Express, select not to have a preview page on your inbox, as even previewing a message can open you up to problems. Even if there is no Virus, viewng it in the preview page can sometimes be enough to notify the sender that you have received the message, which if it is Spam (unwanted email), is exactly what you don't want, as this is enough to identify you as a valid 'target' for yet more Spam!

The best way to avoid trouble is simply not to click on any link in an email unless you are sure you know it is from the person it claims to be from and that you can trust that person - and that is not as easy as it sounds, as there are many 'Phishing' emails around that claim to be from someone or an organisation (your bank, eBay, PayPal, etc.) that are not from them at all, but a person or company simply wishing to steal your login details - and lots more! They do this by creating a duplicate web site and tricking you into entering your login details into it. You don't get logged in of course, but you do give them your login details!

The usual way of tricking you into this is with a scare message, such as 'your account has been suspended, click here to correct this' or 'We haven't received the item we paid for and will report you for fraud if... You get the idea. Another one is the Courier trick; 'You have a parcel waiting collection, click here for details'. The thing is, not to even open am email if you don't know who it is from, didn't ask for it, or is not addressed to you! If you do get caught out and think your login details may have been captured, go straight to the real web site (via a saved link or by typing the address in direct) and change your password straight away, then notify the company that you think your account may have been hacked, but that you have changed your password. If you can't login, it may be too late, as the hackers may already have changed your password. Notify the company of this immediately.

There are many other email scams, usually pretending to be someone in trouble asking for help (money!) and often pretending to be from someone you know. They do this by hacking into people's email accounts and sending their emails from there, making them look genuine! If you get one of these, or one from a 'Prince' or 'Princess', claiming they need your help, DON'T fall for it.

Other email scams include:

'We have a parcel for you', asking you to click on a link to claim it.
'You have won the Spanish (or other) lottery - again asking you to click on a link and/or send money in order to claim the prize.
'You have received a Facebook message from a friend/Card from someone', etc., etc.

There are so many variations on this theme, they are just too many to list. Suffice to say, don't open or click on ANYTHING that you are not expecting, or is something that you have asked for or setup at some time previously. Set up you email program so that you can see not only who has sent it, but who it has been sent TO - and if it's not for you, don't open it!

Again, and I can't say this often enough, is keep aware and don't do or react to anything in a hurry - think BEFORE reacting!

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