Is that typical spam or something new? - WBTV 3 News, Weather, Sports, and Traffic for Charlotte, NC

Is that typical spam or something new?

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CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) -

We all have spam filters in our email accounts. However, every once in a while a random note will make it onto your smart phone or the company inbox. It might have Chinese characters or Arabic.

When you see obvious spam that gets around your email spam filters, is it harmless or harmful? Many of us hit delete and move along but WBTV's cyber expert, Theresa Payton says you may want to look for some warning signs that something could be wrong and she has some tips on how to avoid getting that spam in the first place.

Theresa says:

Signs It Might Just Be Spam

1. A mix of characters, symbols and words but then random text in the message - it was the spammers way of getting around your spam filters. Many programs allow you to "spam check" a message before you send it so the spammers run it through spam check and keep tweaking it until they can get through.

2. Random messages and not consistent.

Signs That You Might Have a Bigger Problem

1. You are receiving bounce-backs from email addresses that you never emailed which means the spammer either has control of your account or they are spoofing your account to others

2. Your computer or mobile device seem to hang up mid task frequently

3. Your email quota usage goes up quickly meaning that a spammer may be using your account to send a lot of messages behind the scenes

Tips to Stop The Spam:

1. Tune your antivirus and anti spam software

2. Check your mail service to see if you can block emails from certain countries or that send you characters from languages you don't normally use

3. You can create spam filters to block certain things that you see in the subject line that are red flags such as "bulk" or a list of the Chinese alphabet

4. Always use the "mark as spam" feature vs. delete whenever you can because it will help your company's tech department and your mail service proactively stop it from hitting someone else's mailbox

Web Resources:

To set up junk mail filters to eliminate spam in Outlook, click here for tips. 

To set up filters for many purposes in Gmail, including blocking spam, click here for tips. 

To read more about the Negobot project to fight online predators, click here

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