How to Use E-Mail Safely - dummies

By Nancy C. Muir, Linda Criddle

E-mail is a fast and convenient way to communicate on the Internet. To stay safe when e-mailing, follow these practices every time you send or receive a message:

  • Don’t share sensitive personal information. Never share passwords, Social Security numbers, and credit card numbers in e-mail.

  • Choose who you e-mail. Just because someone sends you an e-mail doesn’t mean you need to read it or respond. Set up your spam filters to be restrictive, and check your spam folder periodically for legitimate messages.

  • Think twice before you open attachments or click links in e-mail. If you don’t know the sender, delete the e-mail. If you do know the sender but weren’t expecting an attachment, double-check that the person actually sent the e-mail.

  • When sending e-mail to a group of people who don’t know each other, use the Bcc line to protect everybody’s identity. Place all the e-mail addresses on the Bcc (or Blind Carbon Copy) line of the message. That way, no recipient can see the e-mail addresses of other recipients. This respects their privacy and protects their accounts from spammers.