Email: Avoiding viruses, worms, hoaxes, scams, and other traps…

Here are some Golden Rules regarding safe email practice:

1. Assume that every email that appears in your inbox is a potential threat, regardless of its source.

2. Email from unknown sources with unfamiliar subjects almost always will be a waste of time. Delete unopened. There is little to no risk in doing so.

3. Do not click on a link or open an attachment or take any action that an email suggests or recommends unless you KNOW that the source is trusted AND that the action is legitimate.

4. If an email sets off the tiniest alarm or causes you even a fleeting doubt, go with that instinct. Delete and ignore.

5. Trust nothing. A mail that appears to be from a known and trusted source easily could be generated by a virus or worm that raided an email address book and hijacked your friend’s address.

6. Don’t get stung. The evildoers know human nature, and they design bait to exploit your curiosity, your compassion, or your desire for order. When it comes to email, be cold, aloof, and a hard sell.

7. Don’t strike back at unwanted or offensive email. The best policy is to delete and ignore. Reacting in any way only confirms your existence and probably will result in MORE unwanted email…

8. Microsoft, Dell, the South Carolina State Government, or any other legitimate source will not email you a warning about a virus that includes instructions on how to protect yourself by deleting files or clicking a link. The bad guys IMPERSONATING such companies – or companies with bogus but official-sounding names – will do so….