Combat E-mail Viruses and Spam

SecurityTip: Don't take the bait! Learn how to avoid being the victim of e-mail scams!

Help protect your e-mail account from viruses and spam by following these simple recommendations:

  • Do not open attachments from unknown senders.
  • Do not forward messages or attachments from unknown senders.
  • Never respond to any junk mail you receive.
    Responding simply confirms to the sender that yours is a valid e-mail address and increases the probability that your e-mail address will remain on the sender’s distribution list, or be distributed to other spammers.
  • Do not use the preview feature in your e-mail program.
    To determine valid e-mail addresses, spammers may use methods that track when a message is viewed, even if the recipients do not open or reply to the message.
  • Always use caution when clicking on embedded links in e-mail messages, and never click on links in spam messages.
    Sometimes links can take you to a web page that automatically starts downloading a virus or file that contains a virus.
  • Delete unsolicited messages from unknown senders.
    A spam message may contain a virus or other program that could damage your computer if opened.
  • Do not make purchases from unsolicited e-mail messages.
    Unsolicited e-mail messages are particularly suspect since spammers can easily counterfeit return addresses. If you need to make a purchase online, go to the vendor's secure Web site.
  • Never respond to unsolicited e-mail messages that ask for any personal identifying information.
    Never provide your Social Security Number, name, address, mother's maiden name, or other personal identifying information in response to an unsolicited e-mail message. Many spammers can counterfeit a return address, such as a bank's, and trick unsuspecting recipients into revealing confidential information.
  • Use the blind copy (Bcc) field when sending e-mail messages to a large distribution list.
    Using the Bcc field conceals your recipients' e-mail addresses from the other recipients.
  • Do not provide your e-mail address to newsgroup lists, online public forums, or Web sites.
    Spammers may utilize techniques to harvest e-mail addresses from public forums and Web sites.
  • Never give your primary e-mail address to anyone you don't trust.
  • Use one or more secondary e-mail address.
    Use a secondary e-mail address for purchasing online merchandise, submitting online registration forms, or requesting online information and offers. This helps protect your primary e-mail account from abuse.
  • Configure Outlook to automatically handle junk mail in your campus e-mail account.

See also our Phishing and Spam Alerts page.