The normal daily spam email & text messages are enough to drive one nuts. With the holidays coming soon, expect it to increase.
We’ve already seen an uptick in phishing email, thanks to world events & corporate security breaches. Now add the holiday scammers & we have another uptick. Usually starting in November & getting worse in December, when most people are holiday shopping. What can we do to help prevent falling victim?
First & foremost, if you receive a text from a number you don’t recognize, don’t click on any link(s) in the text. Your best option is to block the number. If your phone & carrier provide the option, mark it as spam.
If you receive a text from your doctor/dentist/pharmacy, but don’t recognize the number that sent it, don’t click on any link(s) in the text. Go directly to their web portal & log in directly, your message should be there. Same goes for Amazon, UPS, FedEx, or any other online shopping portal you use.
Of the hundreds of emails sent to you, 99.999% of them are most likely spam, and 100% of the spam is most likely a phishing email. Depending on the email provider (Gmail, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail/Live/MSN/Outlook, etc), you have different options to mark it as spam, junk, or phishing. Although it takes effort on your part to spend your time marking it as such, you’re helping the email provider identify & route such email directly to your spam folder.
If you have your own domain name / website, and use domain-based email addresses (like I do for firstname.lastname@example.org), you should have a few other tools available to reduce the amount of spam that gets through to your inbox. One such tool is called Spam Assassin. Within these tools are Blacklists, or Blocked Lists, in which you could spend your time blocking each email account (a full-time job), or blocking the domain that sent it (much less time involved). Lets explore this a bit deeper.
Blocking domains can shutdown every email address used within that domain. You usually have the option to use asterisks (*) in place of a name. Take a look at these samples:
email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com .. you can block *@spam.com or spam.com
firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org .. you can block *@a.spam.com, a.spam.com, *.spam.com, or spam.com. Same concept for b.spam.com, 1.spam.com, phish.spam.com…
The 1st option listed, *@spam.com (or *@a.spam.com) will block all email addresses at that specific domain. Blocking the subdomains (a.spam.com, b.spam.com) will only block each subdomain. Blocking *.spam.com will block all subdomains, but not spam.com. Blocking spam.com is my preferred option, as it blocks anything from that entire domain and involves less typing & time. You can also block TLDs, such as .monster, .art, .click, .lol, .autos to block any domain using these TLDs. BTW, these TLDs have been pounding one of my email addresses for weeks with 100+ phishing emails daily. Along with these TLDs, please make the time to block all international TLDs that you would never communicate with. Google the list of international TLDs & add them.
Use caution with your blocking, as blocking gmail.com will block every gmail account from emailing you, including your friends who use gmail. Unfortunately we need to block these individually, unless you see a pattern, ie: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com.. then you could block *.firstname.lastname@example.org.
I hope this tidbit of info helps keep you cyber-safe & sorry for adding another layer of homework for you to do.