While hacked email is certainly in the news today, you may be wondering what steps you can take to keep your email messages private. It’s almost common place these days to hear of another data breach where an unauthorized user gains access to private information, including private email. Although it may seem as if there is nothing you can do, here are two steps you can take to help keep your email and other data private.
- Be suspicious of unsolicited phone calls. One of the most common ways that a data thief will gain access to your private data is to ask you for it. If you receive an unsolicited phone call from someone claiming to be with your bank or your credit card company, make sure the person on the other end of the line is who they say they are. If you get a call like this, you could tell the caller that you are in the middle of something right now, ask for their name and a phone number to call back later. After you get their contact information, call whoever the caller said they were with and double check that the call originated from your bank or credit card company. Remember, don’t give out your information until you know who you are speaking with.
- Be suspicious of email attachments. If you receive an email that you won something or that there is a problem with your bank account or your tax return, don’t open any attachments. These institutions don’t typically send out an email with questions like this and the attachment may be a malicious program that will open up your computer or cell phone to whoever sent the message. Again, double check to make sure the sender is who they say they are. Remember, the IRS doesn’t send email messages and it’s unlikely that your bank would either. Even message from someone you know with unsolicited attachments may be compromised, so it’s better to pick up the phone and make sure they sent you a message than to risk your private information.
It is important to be cautious about your private information and who you give it out to. But it is equally important to avoid opening suspicious email attachments as these can both result in a breach of your private data.