We use email as a major form of communication almost every day, from communicating at work to communicating with friends and family and managing our online accounts. Your email address is also often your login for important accounts, like your banking and investment accounts.
So, you will see why you should always take proper measures to keep your email account secure and safe. If it was ever to be compromised it could result in a lot of damage that would be very difficult to clean up.
Did you know that most email services like Gmail and Hotmail are constantly under attack by cyber criminals? They are trying to penetrate and gain access to any email account they can find because an email address is almost like a key, and once they have it they try to unlock as many doors as possible using it. Here are a few ways you can keep your email safe.
Always Logout of Your Account
This is so simple to do, yet many never even think of it. Rather than just closing the browser window when you are done checking your email make sure to properly log out. Just closing the window doesn’t log you out like many assume.
“If the network you are using is ever hacked and someone opens up your previous windows they will be able to get into your email without even having to sign in because you left it open,” says James Davis of ecommerce outsourcing company Staff Outsourcing. While yes, you have to enter your password each time, it’s still a wise move to keep your email secure at all times.
Don’t Access Email Using Public WiFi
Never use public WiFi to check your email. There are people that will set up fake networks that appear to be secure and they can see every move you make and record every keystroke you make. Using these compromised WiFi networks are asking to be hacked.
“You really never know if a public network is secure and there are far too many risks,” says Chris Dziak of Pure Nootropics. “While you can use it to browse websites, never enter any login information while connected to a public network.”
Have a Separate Email Address for Promos & Offers
If someone’s database is hacked they can get your email. With that in hand they can then try to hack it easier. Limit the places you give your main email address. So, it’s a smart idea to create an email address just to use for signing up for special offers online.
For example, if a website promises you a discount code for entering your email, use your dedicated promotional email address for that. It also will help limit the amount of spam your main email address receives.
Never Give Your Email Out for Contests and Drawings
Have you ever been to a concert or event and they are handing out free t-shirts and all you have to do is fill out a piece of paper with your personal information or enter your email address into an iPad to register?
“These marketing efforts are done by companies that mine as much personal data as possible at these events then sell it off to any company willing to pay,” says Darryl Howard of NuWays MD. Your email ends up being passed around the internet and the more exposure like this it receives, the greater your chance of being exploited.