When it comes to four letter words, Spam is one of the worst (and I don't mean the kind that comes out of a can from the grocery store.)
With email you can setup rules or get programs to help block spam. While this doesn’t totally stop spam it does help. You do still have to be vigilant as the spammers keep finding new ways to get around the blocks and rules and, increasingly the spam emails look more realistic. There was a recent 'spam' about QuickBooks Merchant Account access that looked very real. The risks of not being cautious are high. They include identify theft and viruses with potential loss of data.
SPAM PREVENTION - Take Precautions:
- Use a complicated email username.
- Preview your messages before you open them.
- Never, ever reply to a spam message.
- Don't click any links in a spam email.
- Don't forward an email from someone you don't know to a list of people.
- Before you join a list, make sure the list owner or web master will not sell your address.
- Use a spam filter.
- Make sure your privacy settings are set appropriately.
There are also what I would call Spam phone calls. These fall into two categories.
The first are the most dangerous. These are the ones where a friend or relative claims they need money because they are in jail or injured in some foreign country. I personally know someone who got one of these not long ago. It was supposedly from my son and he needed money and didn’t want to let his parents know. The call recipient actually went to the bank to transfer the money. Fortunately the bank was paying attention and asked some questions about the unusual withdrawal request. They suggested they call us, even though my “son” had asked them not to. We were able to assure them that he was fine and they didn’t send the money.
The second type of spam phone calls are Robocalls. I have found that the Federal Do Not Call list seems to be useless in stopping these annoying calls. They interrupt both my personal life and my business and they are getting more frequent on my business line. I recently discovered a program called Nomorobo. They say they won the FTC Robocall Challenge. It’s free for residential users if your carrier is supported. I didn’t see anything on the site about a cost for businesses but my Optimum business signup seemed to be free. It is hard to know how well it is working but even if I get 2 less robocalls per week, it’s helpful. Check it out.
Robocall Prevention - Caller busting:
- Get on the Do Not Call Registry.
- Keep your number to yourself.
- Tell companies you use to bug off.
- Don't respond, just 'Hang up' right away.
- File a complaint.
- Use a free robocall blocking service.