Have you ever received those emails that spun a story about a lawyer or a rich person needing your help, in the form of transferring some money to you so that they could execute a will on your behalf? It sounds far-fetched, but the fact is thousands of people have unwittingly fallen for scams like this. Sadly, email scams had leveled up to become traps for email identity theft scam. Some emails lead individuals to portals that masquerade as websites they can trust, only to capture their details, and turn them into victims of ID theft, or worse, clean out a victim’s financial accounts.
ID theft has indeed come a long way in advancing from email security scams. With hackers and phishing sites on the rise, you have to be smart about protecting yourself and stop id theft before it happens.
Here are some essential tips to ensure that you protect your email from being easily accessible.
Never click links from sources you don’t trust.
This is a general email security rule, and you should follow it for your email address. Some of these links will lead you to websites that masquerade as the usual financial services that you trust: electronic money transfer solution, a bank with online services, or even links supposedly to your email account with another company, and other websites that would normally require more security. Some links will lead to malware sites. The point is, if your email service (especially Gmail) has labeled it as SPAM, it is better not touch it. If it has skipped Gmail’s SPAM filter and has landed in your inbox, don’t click links if the email is not from somebody you know. If it’s from somebody you know, it will have a distinct, spammy format: just a link, or some gibberish and a link. Don’t click the link, even if the email came from a friend’s email address. His account could have been hacked.
Confirm the URL
Another way to ensure to ensure email security is to always check the URL in the Address Bar to see if the address is exactly from the website it claims to be. During the Yahoo! Mail hacking epidemic, a lot of Yahoo! Users received an email that claimed to be from Yahoo but led to a website with a TLD (Top-Level Domain, i.e. “.com,” “.net,” “.de”) leading to a European country. The email content and header stated that the user had to change his account details as soon as possible, and provided a form to do exactly that. However, if the user bothered to check and see that it was from another domain, he would then realize that he just gave access to some unknown phishing expert.
There’s a method to the madness. To spot obvious spam, scam and phishing emails, take note of odd, robotic subject lines, spelling errors, and if you use a service like Gmail, it will already identify those emails and toss them to your SPAM folder. Check out how your SPAM emails look like, and you’ll eventually learn how to spot spam, fraud and phishing emails.
Check Before Submitting
A lot of people begin receiving emails from companies and mistakenly think they did not give their permission. Often, they did so without realizing it. For example, think back to the last time you bought an item online. There’s a good chance that the company from which you purchased the item offered you a newsletter. Between the time you chose the product and entered your credit card details, there was likely a small box that was already checked. That box, and the check mark within it signified your implicit permission. It’s a sneaky strategy to use your email address, but many sites employ it. Before clicking the “Submit Order” button, look for checked boxes. Otherwise, you may start to receive mysterious emails
Clear your cache
After you’ve finished login into your email, your browser stores images, pages and information on each page visited. Delete these after each visit especially on public, or company machines. It’s usually called – clear history, clear cache or similar and found in Tools/Options./Preferences or very similar.
You should ensure email security before you become a victim of stolen identity, learn those red flags that lead to an email accessibility. These are easily identifiable, and as you get very familiar with them over time, you’ll get better with protecting your email from being easily accessible.