Reducing and reporting spam email
Spam is the electronic version of "junk mail." In other words, spam is unsolicited, often unwanted, email messages. Not all spam contains viruses but all spam is a nuisance.
If you've been a victim of an Internet scam, The Calgary Police Service provides information on reporting online crime. Additionally, here are some resources for dealing with spam:
- The Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre
- Royal Canadian Mounted Police - Scams and fraud
- US-CERT - The USA's cybersecurity team
- Spamhaus - An international nonprofit that tracks the Internet's spam
- The Canadian Competition Bureau
- National CyberSecurity Alliance
- The Anti-Phishing Working Group (APWG)
Protect yourself from spam
Avoid spam by following these tips and tricks:
- Be selective when giving out your email address and mobile phone number.
- If you do give out an email for things like surveys, contests and comment cards, create a secondary email address. Companies often enter this information into a database that may be sold to or shared with other companies. Many domains offer free email accounts and a secondary email account helps protect a primary email account from spam that could be generated.
- Don't respond to unwanted texts or emails from questionable sources.
- Read a website's privacy policies before entering an email address on a website.
- When filling out forms, don't enter information in fields marked "optional." Notice fields or options that are selected by default - you may be "opting in" to spam.
- Use email programs that offer filtering capabilities.
- Report unwanted messages as spam. At the same time, check your junk and spam folders in case a legitimate email ended up there.
- Don't click links in spam messages. If you click a link within an email message or reply to a certain address, you are confirming that your email address is valid.
- Make your email address difficult to guess (for example, don't just use your first and last name.)
- Never publish your private address on publicly accessible websites.
- Avoid placing too much information in your signature line. Messages with your personal information can be forwarded and end up in the wrong hands.
- Use high privacy settings on social networking sites.
- Don't spam other people. Be responsible and considerate when replying and forwarding emails.
- Use the latest version of your web browser and apply security patches. You should also use an anti-spam solution and only open email accounts with providers who provide spam filtering.
- Change your private address if discovered by spammers. Although inconvenient, changing your email address helps you avoid spam.
How to prevent pornographic email
If you receive an email from someone you don't know and it contains an attachment, do not open either the email or the attachment. If you receive something suspicious from someone you do know, check the date and time the email is sent, the subject line and the type of file it contains. If it appears suspicious, do not open the email; delete the message and use the telephone to verify the sender. Close the preview pane in the email client to reduce the risk of viewing inappropriate content such as pornography that might be included in the body of the email.