Protect yourself from spam

It's annoying, and can be dangerous. The term "spam" is 15 years old this month. Yahoo! web life editor, Heather Cabot, helps us with digital housekeeping.


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1. Protect your email address as you would your phone number

  • Treat your email address like your phone number - something you give out selectively. Don't post it in public places like message boards or chat rooms. When you need to supply an email address for shopping or other online activities, use Yahoo! Mail AddressGuard (available to Yahoo! Mail Plus users) to create disposable email addresses.

2. Just say no to junk email; Use the "Spam" button to report it

  • If you receive unwanted email, don't respond; click the "Spam" button in the toolbar at the top of your Inbox or message. This will report the address as belonging to a spammer so Yahoo! Mail (or your service provider) can watch out for future mail from this sender.

3. You did not win the lottery! If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is!

  • Don't be fooled by people pretending to offer cash prizes. Legitimate companies would never send you information about a contest you never entered. If you've receive a message like "Final Notification: Winner!" or "Your Email Address Has Won $XX million," it's a scam. Don't reply to the email, don't click any links in it, and never divulge any personal information. Instead, click the "Spam" button.

4. Don't believe every warning you read, and do not click on pop-up warnings

  • Unscrupulous companies use pop-up ads to display false warnings about your computer. Ignore them. To safely close a pop-up ad, press Ctrl-W (if you're using a Windows computer) or Command-W (on a Mac computer). You may receive an email that claims to be from a computer expert, warning you of a virus. These are usually hoaxes. Do not follow the steps described in any email unless you're sure the threat is real.

5. Create a Sign-in Seal to avoid password theft

  • Sign-in seals are a new safeguard offered by Yahoo! and many financial institutions to help protect your login experience. They also help you avoid online phishing scams (people trying to trick you into giving up your password or personal information by "spoofing" legitimate web sites). Go to any sign-in page across the Yahoo! network (such as Yahoo! Mail.) and click "Prevent Password Theft" at the top of the sign-in box to create a personal Sign-in Seal on your computer.

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