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Safety, The Internet, And Email          

For the Web Beginner, there is much to learn. For the Internet beginner, there are probably three guidelines that you should learn about immediately.

The Dreaded Computer Virus 

A computer VIRUS can be a very nasty thing to deal with, and email is the most common method of a computer becoming infected. YOU MUST BE CAREFUL ! ! !  A bad virus can end up costing you more than your computer in financial terms, and untold misery in emotional terms. 

At the present time, you can not get infected from reading an email - you have to do something besides just reading the email... something like opening an attachment or clicking a link within the email. This could be a text link or picture within the email. 

Never... NEVER... >>>NEVER<<<  open an email attachment unless you are expecting it. 99% of all infections will come from someone with whom you have communicated before and you probably trust. They are not being malicious - They are just not aware that they are infected, and their computer is going through their address book and sending out infected emails without them even knowing about it.

If you receive an attachment that you are not expecting, write the person who sent it and verify that they actually did send it! 

If you receive an email that click here for... whatever... DON'T. It may say, "Click here to see a really cool web page." or, "Click here to win a million dollars." or, it may even say, "Click here to be taken off our mailing list." You may be tempted, JUST DON'T CLICK.

Some viruses are downloaded with your email. There is nothing to worry about - you have to open them them before they become activated. Some reside on a web page, and the link to that web page is in the email. If you go to that web page to look at all the smiley faces, or fireworks, or whatever, while you are looking at them, a virus is downloading onto you computer.

THE DELETE KEY IS THE ONLY ALTERNATIVE WHEN YOU RECEIVE UNSOLICITED OR UNEXPECTED EMAIL.

A GOOD ANTI-VIRUS IS A NECESSITY THESE DAYS - GET ONE.

Your Identity, And How To Keep It.

In real life... if you were at a party, and met some new people, you would never consider telling them you were somebody other than yourself. You would not say, "Hi, I'm John Smith." when your real name was Frank Glen. On the Internet, it's the other way around.  In chat rooms and in social gathering places on the Internet, Never... NEVER... >>>NEVER<<<  give your real name, address, phone number, Social Security number, or any other identifying information about yourself.

It is a sad statement on the way things are, but the sweet young man you've been chatting with for weeks could be Jack The Ripper, or a Terrorist - you just have no way of knowing. 

Never, under any circumstance, give your Social Security Number away! I know... I know... the site says enter your name and SSN for a chance to win this beautiful new house, and you're feeling really really lucky... But your name and SSN are all someone needs to steal your identity, clean out your bank accounts, or even get a second mortgage on your house without you becoming aware of it until its too late. 

Personal information is just that, PERSONAL. Keep it that way... it's a lot safer.

Spam

"Spam" is the internet equivalent of junk mail. The best way to handle it is with your DELETE key. Responding to, or clicking on a link that says, "click here to remove your name" often only verifies that your email address is correct - and they can sell a verified address for more money than an unverified one. 

On the same note, if you want to get newsletters, enter contests, and get free offers through the email system, Go to www.MSN.com   or www.yahoo.com and get a free email address and use that address for such endeavors. That way, when the spam gets overwhelming, you can close the account and get a different one. You generally can't do that with your normal email address.

Here is a link for an Internet safety Tutorial. 

Here is a link to the FBI site returning over a hundred publications on Internet Safety.

Both these links will open in a new window that will appear on top of this one.

 

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