When you are online, it is completely free to send an email using any of the mailing services online (Yahoo, Gmail, Outlook, etc.). Email is one of the simplest means of communication. Though there are so many instant messaging apps, companies, organizations, and officials prefer mail for their communication purposes. You can send an email within seconds, thus making it one of the fastest means of communication. You can access your messages from anywhere using a device with an internet connection. This simple and superfast mail has a number of advantages. But what makes the mail’s pride go down are spam emails. Read along to Know More about How dangerous are spam emails?
Spam emails, what are they?
Spam emails are also known as junk emails or unsolicited emails. Some of the types of spam emails include,
- Advertisements (for example, online shopping forums, gambling, websites, etc)
- Mails that tell you that you can become rich if you follow the steps mentioned in the mail.
- Unknown emails that contain forms or surveys to collect your personal data
- Mails with unknown attachments.
- Mails requesting you to donate money for charity.
- Virus warnings (emails that tell you that your computer has a virus threat and need you to take immediate action)
- Mails that promote you to download unknown software.
- Mails from unknown senders
Anyone who has an email identity comes across such types of spam emails every day
How dangerous are spam emails?
Spam emails are generally sent by a lot of business organizations too. All emails listed under the spam section of your email inbox aren’t spam mails. You may find some mails useful. Some emails come to you because you signed up for a newsletter. Or your notifications from some sites can come through email. Your email service provider may list such emails also under the spam category. An email sent to you that you find useful is not spam. For example, your email service provider may list many business promotions under spam. But you may find a product or service to be useful and may buy products from the business organization. Such mails are useful to you and hence aren’t junk mails.
Another reason for business organizations sending spam emails is that they are very inexpensive to send.
Spam becomes a nuisance when hundreds and thousands of junk emails occupy your email. Also, you might experience some other negative effects. You would have to delete them manually and that might irritate most users.
A sender may claim himself/herself to be someone you know or a web platform where you have an account. When you respond to such untrusted mails, you risk your personal information.
For example, the sender may send you a mail like this.
“Congratulations! Our organization has selected you for a 500,000$ cash prize. Fill out this form to redeem your cash now! Don’t miss this opportunity. Your free gift ends in 24 hours. Claim your reward quick”
In the above mail, the sender sends a form to capture your information. If you respond to such emails, you risk your personal information to them.
Some kinds of spam emails are illegal. Emails containing offensive pictures, child pornographic material, or abuse are illegal.
Some illegal emails may even come up with attempts to attain your credit card number and other information. When you respond to such emails you end up losing your money and becoming a victim to depression.
Malicious files or links
In some spam, there may be some malicious links or files attached. When you download the files or click on the links, hackers may steal your personal information and use it for their benefit. You may even end up losing a huge sum of money.
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An attacker can inject a virus into your computer by an attachment sent to you by mail. If you download such attachments from unknown senders (who may be attackers or hackers), your computer is prone to such virus attacks. The attachment may contain viruses or spyware.
Some emails may even prompt that a virus has infected your computer. It might recommend you to download some software to get rid of the virus. If you download such untrusted software, you are prone to attacks by a hacker. Using such software or spyware, hackers can steal your bank password and a lot of other confidential information.
Attackers may mask themselves as a trusted source and might send emails to gain your personal information. Sometimes even, they can send you links that look like the actual website of an organization you know. If you attempt to sign-in using your credentials, the hacker can easily obtain your credentials for that website.
Sometimes an attacker might attach Ransomware with a spam mail and send it to you. If you download or open that attachment, then you are prone to a ransomware attack. Ransomware is a special type of malware. It locks all your files and access to your computer. The attacker may demand a ransom to give your computer access back to you. Ransomware is a serious threat.
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How do you keep safe from dangerous spam emails?
Many email providers have spam filters that protect you from spam. But acting wiser can help you get rid of spam. Follow the recommended ways to stay safe from spam.
Use email safely
When you use email safely, you can stay away from spam attacks. Here are a few tips to follow while using email.
- Don’t open suspicious emails.
- Don’t forward mails if you suspect them as a scam.
- Do not click on untrusted or unknown links.
- Do not download or open unknown email attachments.
- Do not fill out forms sent to you by spam emailers.
- Do not trust unknows emails from senders who are not in your contact list.
By following these, you can stay safe from spam and protect your privacy.
Avoid signing up on websites of unknown companies
Do not sign up for promotions, newsletters, or articles from unknown companies. If you wish to sign up for multiple websites, use a different email. You can use that email only for signing up for such websites or promotions. This can really help you stay away from spam emails and fake promotions.
Optimize your spam filters
Many email service providers have spam filters that can filter spam messages. Make sure your spam filtering services are always On. If you find any spam email in your inbox, mark them as spam to enhance your spam filters. By optimizing your spam filters in this way, you are less likely to receive junk emails.
Never give out personal information
You should never give out personal information or fill a form in response to a spam email. If you receive an email with the name of an organization you know, contact them personally and verify with them. Then do the needful.
Avoid unknown links and attachments
You should not download attachments from an untrusted or unknown sender. Many types of malware and viruses can come into your system if you download an unknown attachment.
Also, you should not click on unknown links to stay away from phishing attacks.
Watch for the email address of the sender
Do not open emails from unknown email addresses. If the sender claims to be an organization or person you know, double-check the email address if it is a proper one. Sometimes attackers might use characters that are similar to actual letters to trick you into responding to the email.
For example, you know an organization named “Orion”, an attacker might replace the letter ‘O’ with the number ‘0’ (number zero) since both look somewhat alike. Check whether it is “Orion” or “0rion” before responding to the mail.
Use antivirus and anti-spam software
You can install antivirus software and anti-spam software to get rid of spam. Many antivirus software applications come with internet security software that blocks malicious links. Also, your antivirus software can block you from downloading malware or malicious attachments.
If you use antivirus software, make sure it is up-to-date and optimized. Never turn off the security.
Change your email address
If you feel that you are receiving a large number of spam emails and stressed about it, then you must consider changing your email address. This may seem hard. But with your new email, you can be safe and secured from the dangers of spam emails.
Getting rid of malware
If you think you have downloaded malware or ransomware by an accident, you can remove it by these steps.
- Reboot your device in Safe Mode.
- Install antivirus and anti-malware programs and scan your device for ransomware.
- Delete the program and restore your computer.
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I hope you now know how dangerous spam emails are and take the necessary steps to stay safe from spam emails. Do not reply to mail or even try to Unsubscribe to the mail. Attempting to unsubscribe can also verify your email address and you might be prone to more scam.
Have any suggestions for us, leave them in the comments. If you have any questions, you can always contact me through the mail.