Email breach opens consumers up to SPAM

For the second time in just a few weeks, I received another email alerting me to a security alert.  Luckily, both times it appears just my email was compromised but it’s still disconcerting and makes me prone to SPAM.

Figures the latest breach is for a rewards program I don’t even use. Who knew buying a car starter for a holiday gift and later returning it would open me up to SPAM?  All I wanted to do was save some money.

Several companies were impacted when Epsilon’s database was recently hacked. The company says it’s the world’s largest email marketing provider and sends over 40 billion emails a year.

The two breaches involving my information were not related, but it shows how vulnerable and insecure your information is when you provide it to a company.

It appears only email addresses and perhaps names were accessed as part of the breach, but it’s a good reminder about phishing attacks and what you can do to prevent SPAM from clogging your Inbox.

Never respond to an email or phone call asking for personal and sensitive information. Your bank is never going to send you an email asking you to verify information or alerting you to a security breach. They’ll call you or send you a letter in the mail. Also, the IRS doesn’t need you to verify anything over the Internet and won’t send you an email alerting you to a refund. These are just some of the most common phishing attacks, but there are others.

Phishing emails usually contain a link that looks like your bank, however, if you hover over that link you’ll see the real web address that you’ll be directed to if you click on the fake link.  Phishing attacks are just one way to gain personal information in an effort to steal your identity.

Since the first attack, I have gotten a lot of SPAM. The emails I’m getting make no sense or contain a simple link. Of course, I haven’t clicked on any but it’s easy to mistakenly do it especially if the link looks like one from your bank.

Setup a separate email address for rewards offers, newsletters, & deal sites

When you sign up for rewards clubs, newsletters, money saving deal sites, and so on sign up with a different email than your primary one. That way, your main email address is not clogged with information you don’t need. You can look at the deals and offers whenever you want, and won’t feel obligated to weed through all that everyday.

While SPAM is something different than junk, SPAM sometimes comes from responding to offers. Once your email gets out there, and spammers get a hold of it you are inundated with email.

If you already are signed up for a lot of offers and think it would be hard to establish a secondary email address, set  up filters so the junk or items you don’t read everyday go to the junk mail folder and not your Inbox.

Getting rid of email you don’t want

It’s also a good idea to go through the email subscriptions you don’t really read and unsubscribe from them. There is a link on the bottom of every email from a newsletter you one time subscribed to, that tells you how to unsubscribe.

There have been reports that unsubscribing opens you up to more junk. I haven’t found that to be the case. I’ve unsubscribed quite often in the past, and never found it to be a problem.  The only problem – I don’t feel as popular anymore because I don’t get as many emails but then again that was my ultimate goal!

 

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5 responses to “Email breach opens consumers up to SPAM

  1. Thanks Jenn, great advice.

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