Rights & Money

Coping With Spam E-mail

Here’s how to keep spammers at bay

By Jennifer Hughes

Photo: iStock/scanrail.

While e-mail is a popular and efficient way to communicate, it comes at a cost: your e-mail address can easily be acquired by fraudsters seeking to flood your inbox with spam.

Whether it turns up in your personal or professional e-mail—and it will—there are a few different kinds of spam e-mail. Simple spam is the online equivalent of junk mail—promotional e-mails urging you to buy something. It can be difficult to distinguish spam mail from other, legitimate e-mail.

The more dangerous type of spam consists of messages that pretend to be from a legitimate sender, such as a financial institution or other well-known company. These are usually “phishing” attempts—efforts to get your personal information such as social insurance number of date of birth—and may contain malware or viruses.

The best way to deal with spam e-mail is to ignore it. Though some messages may look trustworthy, it’s better to be wary of anything sent from an unknown e-mail or anything that looks suspicious—even if it seems to be from someone you know. Avoid opening any e-mail sent from senders you don’t know or that consist of things you’re unfamiliar with. To stay clear of malware and viruses, never click on a link or open an attachment in a suspicious e-mail.

You can report spam e-mail to the Government of Canada’s Spam Reporting Centre. The Centre collects reports about spam and malicious electronic threats in order to enforce Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation. However, there are always risks involved when it comes to dealing with viruses, so read the steps carefully if you chose to report any malicious e-mail.

If you notice that one sender is continually sending you spam, you can choose to manually block them by selecting the sender and clicking “block.” However, it’s important to note that the process varies, depending on your e-mail service provider. Thankfully, you can find useful guides online with more details, such as those at computerhope.com. Just google “How to block e-mail.”