If you receive a questionable email, what do you do with it? What if it’s from a good friend, or someone you haven’t spoken with in a while? What if it’s from someone who may legitimately want to do business with you?
Common sense – or gut feelings – are probably the biggest ally you have to decide what to do next. What made you second-guess the email’s authenticity? Is it something you could Google online to make sure that the email is not a scam? Would you normally receive this kind of email in your inbox? If the answer is no to this last question, we suggest moving it to your spam folder.
If someone you know really meant to get in touch with you, there are other methods that they could use to reach you, and likewise you can reach out to them as well. The reason we caution about opening unrecognized emails is that this is still the top source of transmitting computer viruses, which can cause damage or data loss to your computer and system. Even in a big corporation or with the best antivirus software, protection is in the eye of the user. Computer security is like having a fence around your house: It works well, until someone opens the gate.
The same thing goes for pop-up ads too. If a pop-up ad repeatedly asks for you to “click here”, and it’s something you don’t recognize, it may not be safe. First, read the pop-up ad closely. See if it’s from a source you recognize. Many popular websites deliver pop-up ads, and this is normal marketing behavior. But, if you don’t recognize it, it’s better to close the ad. Also, your computer will not deliver pop-up ads to run updates. This will happen on its own, and generally speaking, you’ll usually recognize the update prior to installing.
Lastly, don’t assume every file or update your computer adds is something corrupt. We’ve had customers that tell us that they deleted program files they did not recognize. This can cause more harm to delete them as the file might be something that you need. Refer to an IT professional for clarification on what should and should not be a part of your system’s files.
When it comes to security, YOU are your best line of defense. Use good judgement, and trust your gut if something doesn’t look right. It’s always better to be safe than sorry. Contact us if you have any questions about if an email is safe to open.