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Question Title Avoid Spam - what you should and shouldn't do

If you receive a spam email, here are some important things you should know:

  1. NEVER reply to a spam email. This will "whitelist" the spammers address and allow emails from the spammer in future. You will also be confirming to the spammer that your address exists and they will send you more spam.
  2. NEVER click an 'unsubscribe' link in a spam email. Again, spammers use this to confirm your address so they can send you more spam, not so they can unsubscribe you!
  3. NEVER click any links in spam emails. Spammers use this to confirm your address so they can send you more spam.
  4. NEVER open a file attachment that comes with a spam email, as it may contain viruses or malicious content which could harm your computer. Only open attachements if you are sure they are from a trusted source.
  5. NEVER put your email address openly on the web, for example forum posts, business directories or website contact pages. Spammers use email "harvester" systems which trawl through the internet looking for email addresses. This is a very common way that spammers can get your address, and if you put your email address on the web, you will almost certainly over time start to receive large amounts of spam.
  6. Only use an auto-reply if it's really necessary, e.g. if you need this for business to inform people that you're away. This is because if your account auto-responds to spam emails which you receive, this can confirm your address to the spammer and attract more spam. Therefore its not a good idea to have this turned on all the time.

'Phishing'
Some spam emails may appear to be from a bank, building society or other well known company such as Ebay or PayPal. The emails usually ask that you reply or go to a website to confirm your account or bank card details. BEWARE: Reputable banks and companies never ask you to confirm information in this way. Although the email or website may look genuine, it is not. The scammers will take your details and often use them for illegal purposes such as identity theft or credit card fraud. This type of scam is called 'Phishing', and is common, so be prepared:

  1. NEVER give out personal information such as bank or credit card details by email, or in response to an email, without first checking with the company the email 'appears' to be from.
  2. If you are at all unsure, ALWAYS contact the bank or company through methods you trust (such as ringing your bank) to confirm that they sent you the email.
 
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