The University of Texas at Austin

Managing Unwanted Email

Best Practices for End Users

Apply these best practices to protect yourself from unwanted email.

  • Proactively protect yourself against malicious spam and phishing attempts by protecting your personal computer with BevoWare anti-virus and security software. Anti-virus and security software will help prevent you from accidentally visiting malicious web sites or having your personal information obtained without your consent.

  • Don't be fooled by various phishing schemes designed to trick you into revealing personal information. Some phishing messages contain urgent requests for personal information such as bank account numbers. Frequently they appear to come from reputable institutions. Don't trust such phishing requests and delete such emails immediately. Also, it is good practice to never follow instructions to "remove yourself from the list." These removal instructions are a gimmick used to verify that yours is a valid email address. If you click on it, spammers will add you to their list or sell your address to someone else. Replying in any way to a spam message lets spammers know they have found a valid email address.

  • Be careful when sharing your personal information online. Don't provide any personal information such as an address, phone number or email, if you are on a non-secure Web site. A secure site will start with "https" or display a locked padlock in the status bar at the bottom of window.

  • Use filters and rules to screen unwanted mail. Filters and rules are tools within email programs that identify incoming messages as spam. Spam messages are then routed to a specified folder--such as Junk Mail, Trash, or Deleted Items. The process for creating filters and rules differs slightly in each program but the basic concept is the same. Contact the ITS Help Desk if you have questions about creating filters and rules.

  • Learn how to view complete headers in your email messages. A complete header displays information about the sender and the route the message takes before arriving in your inbox. If you report spam to a service provider, sending a complete header will help them determine the origin of the spam. This will make filters and rules more effective and also enables the ITS Help Desk staff to better assist you.

  • Remember to always abide by the university's Acceptable Use Policy. Specifically, you must not:

    • Threaten violence or vandalism against the site or user that sent you spam.

    • Hack into the site.

    • Mail-bomb, ping-storm, SYN-flood or otherwise attack the site or user.

Last updated December 11, 2012 @ 11:24 am

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