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Got spam? I don’t mean the kind of Spam you eat.

I’m talking spam email, which is junk or unsolicited email, an unwanted email messages, frequently with commercial content. Got it? Ignore, delete or block it. Don’t – forward, reply or send a remove request. This results in more spam.

Sensitive Information Via Email

No reputable company will ask you to provide usernames, passwords, Social Security numbers, credit card numbers or other sensitive information via email. Also, never click on Web links within an unsolicited email.

Email Donation Requests

Tragedies and natural disasters have prompted individuals with criminal intent to solicit contributions purportedly for a charitable organization and/or a good cause. Therefore, before making a donation of any kind, consumers should adhere to certain guidelines, to include the following:

  • Do not respond to any unsolicited (spam) incoming emails, including clicking links contained within those messages.
  • Be skeptical of individuals representing themselves as surviving victims or officials asking for donations via email or social networking sites.
  • Verify the legitimacy of nonprofit organizations by utilizing various Internet-based resources that may assist in confirming the group’s existence and its nonprofit status rather than following a purported link to the site.
  • Be cautious of emails that claim to show pictures of the disaster areas in attached files because the files may contain viruses. Only open attachments from known senders.
  • Make contributions directly to known organizations rather than relying on others to make the donation on your behalf to ensure contributions are received and used for intended purposes.
  • Do not give your personal or financial information to anyone who solicits contributions: Providing such information may compromise your identity and make you vulnerable to identity theft.
  • Anyone who has received an email referencing the above information or anyone who may have been a victim of this or a similar incident should notify the Internet Crime Complaint Center.

Email or Website Solicitation

If you receive a solicitation via email or on a website, check it with the stranger on the street test. Ask yourself, if a stranger on the street approached you with the same offer, would you take them up on it or run away. If it's the latter, delete the email or get off the Web site.

Phishing/Verification of Passwords by Email

If you ever receive an email asking for your username and password, please delete the message. Information Services and legitimate companies would never ask for your username in combination with your password, especially in the form of an email. Please be aware that these messages are a form of phishing, which appear to come from a legitimate source when in reality they are not. Remember to never provide usernames, passwords, Social Security numbers, credit card numbers or other sensitive information via email.

Unknown Email Attachments

Don't open unknown or unexpected email attachments. A simple rule of thumb is that if you don't know the person who is sending you an email, be very careful about opening the email and any file attached to it. If you receive a suspicious email, the best thing to do is to delete the entire message, including any attachment.

Even if you do know the person sending you the email, you should exercise caution if the message is strange and unexpected, particularly if it contains unusual hyperlinks. Contact the person sending the email to verify that they really did send it. Or, when in doubt, delete it.

Internet Fraud

We all get offers that seem too good to be true. Whether they come by email or appear on websites, they are often schemes designed to trick the gullible. Don't be tricked by Internet fraud.