1. Use a Strong Password. You give out your email address all the time; it’s not really private information. That being the case, the only thing protecting your account from misuse is the password. A malefactor who guesses your too-weak password gains full control of your email account. Protect your account with a strong password, especially if you use a Web-based email provider like Gmail or Yahoo mail.
2. Beware Public PCs. If you check your email on a public computer in a library or Internet café, be absolutely sure you’ve logged out before leaving. Even then, you might be leaving behind traces that could give the next user too much information about you. Follow PCMag’s advice to Use Public Computers Safely.
3. Protect Your Address. It’s true that you give out your email address every time you send a message, but there’s no need to give it to the whole world. Don’t include your email address in comments on blog posts, or in social media posts. Spammers and scammers scrape pages all the time looking for new victims.
4. Lock It Up. If you step away from your desk, lock the Windows desktop or close your email client. Otherwise a sneaky co-worker could read your mail or even reset your login password. Hold the Windows key and press L to lock the desktop instantly.
5. Don’t Be Fooled. Oh, dear. Your email provider has sent you notification of a security breach, with a link to reset your password. Don’t click that link! It’s almost certainly a fraud, designed to steal your email account password. If you have any doubts, navigate to the email provider’s site directly and double-check.
6. Use Encryption. Sometimes you just have to send sensitive information by email. To keep your data safe, save it as a document and use your word processing application’s built-in encryption, or store the document in an encrypted ZIP file. Then share the password with the recipient separately. If you need encryption frequently, try a free email encryption product like PrivateSky or Enlocked.