4 Things to Stop Doing with Your Email

by Miranda Marquit · 0 comments

My email account is my lifeline to the world. I negotiate with clients, receive bank statements and notices, and accomplish a great deal via email.

The fact that there is so much information about you in your email account can be a liability. In fact, the Federal Trade Commission says that email is the most common mode of attack used by fraudsters. If you want to reduce the chances that a hacker will get into your email and make off with valuable information, here are 4 things you need to stop doing with your email:

1. Staying Signed In

I admit that I’m guilty of this one. I often remain signed in because it’s just so much easier. However, if you are always signed in, a hacker can more easily access your account. However, you need to sign out.

And, really, now that I think about it, signing out of my email account could actually be of benefit to me because it would force me to be more productive. I could return to my old practice of only checking email at scheduled times during the day. So, fixing this problem not only helps protect your information, but it can also make you more productive during the day.

2. Using the Same Login Information Elsewhere

One of the biggest online security problems is when you use the same login information for multiple sites. Each site should use different information. I’ve made it a point to have different logins for each of my sites, and my email login is different from everything else. This is important, since if a hacker gets a hold of the login information for one of your other accounts, he or she is most likely to try the same info at other places. If you have the same login info, all of your accounts are vulnerable when just one is hacked.

3. Checking Your Email on an Insecure Network

Again, guilty. While I don’t log in to my bank accounts or other similarly sensitive sites while using public Internet, I do sometimes check my email while I am using free Internet at a cafe or even the public library. This is a no-no, though, since you can be vulnerable while you are using these networks. Even a password-protected network can be a problem, since hackers can get the same password when it comes to WiFi.

4. Keeping Old Emails

I keep a lot of old emails; I refer to them when needed. However, there are some emails you shouldn’t be keeping. They need to be properly deleted. When you send tax forms to others (I send W-9 PDFs all the time) and other forms with sensitive information, you should delete them. This means “deleting them forever” out of the sent box, as well as other mailboxes.

If you want to keep some documents, such as an electronically sent benefits statement, set up a password-protected/encrypted folder on your computer. Safe the information there, and then delete it out of your email. If a hacker gets access to your email, you don’t want him or her to see sensitive personal information that can be used to steal your identity.

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