Are there risks when you give someone your email address?
Email is a wonderful way to connect with friends and family. The immediacy of this form of communication can enrich your life in many ways. When used properly, email keeps you informed, entertained—and, most importantly, connected.
With access to email, you need never be alone. It is much easier than texting, much faster than snail mail, and you can attach photos if you like.
Sometimes, though, you might be annoyed by an email. If you receive an email with a message line you don’t like, delete it. If you receive an email from someone you don’t want to communicate with, delete it. You can control the emails you read. Always remember, you do not have to open any email that you don’t want!
It is also true that email can be abused and overused. Some reasons to not share your email address are: You get too many emails already. Your email address is personal and you only give it to family and friends. Or maybe you have received nasty messages.
Something to consider, though, is a comparison of unwanted emails with intrusive robo calls. When you are annoyed with robo calls, do you get rid of your phone? No. You simply don’t answer it. Similarly, if you don’t want an email, delete it—or unsubscribe.
Email addresses are advertising gold to retailers and marketers. Emails are collected by most businesses and organizations. When you pay by credit card or if you agree to receive a receipt online, asking for an email address can seem like an innocent request, a necessary part of the transaction. It is not. Instead, acquiring your email address allows businesses to contact you online whenever they choose, with a message or newsletter they select. Unless you want to hear from them on their terms, say no thanks when you are asked for your email.
Do know that whenever you purchase something online, like through Amazon, Kohls, or Barnes and Noble, the retailer automatically has your email. Again, the best remedy is to simply delete the incoming messages you don’t want. As we’ve learned this spring, online shopping may be the new normal.
If your email address gets in the wrong hands, you can block the sender as SPAM, unsubscribe from the sender’s list by clicking on the link at the bottom of the email (this option is required in all emails from businesses), or start using a different email address.
To avoid exposing your computer to a virus, NEVER open a link in an email from someone you do not know or trust. An email that has been deleted without opening is harmless. Most servers have a spam filter or security software that selectively sends suspect messages to a separate file (the SPAM folder); however, this feature doesn’t get rid of all the bad and may inadvertently block some useful messages. Some vigilance is required.
Finally, realize your email address is not personal like your social security number or date of birth. Like a street address or telephone number, it tells where you can be found—and it can be changed. Your email is no more personal than your phone number, which for many years was printed in the community phone book.
So, go ahead and share your email address with people you trust. It’s a great way to communicate!
By Savvy Senior
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