Email has become such an essential part of life that many people now choose to send a message rather than make a phone call. It’s a means to stay in touch with friends, communicate with colleagues, receive order confirmations when you shop online, read e-newsletters and find out about promotions from companies you trust.

In fact, millions of emails are sent every second around the world filled with personal information, providing a rich source of information for cyber criminals.

What are the risks?

Email is one of the easiest ways for cyber criminals to target ordinary citizens. So, as with anything in life, if something seems suspicious, go with your instincts.

A good rule of thumb is to automatically delete anything that looks out of the ordinary. If the email was actually from someone you know, they’ll either try again or find another way to get in touch with you.

Here are a few risks to always be aware of when it comes to your email:

  • A weak email account password could leave your personal information vulnerable.
  • Spyware may be sent as an attachment in an email and allow criminals access to your information.
  • Viruses can spread through email to your entire contact list without you knowing it.
  • Email phishing scams can trick you into opening attachments or giving up personal information. They appear to be emails from organizations or companies you trust, but they’re often the gateway to identity theft.
  • Spam can get through your filter and inundate you with unsolicited email.
  • Your identity could be compromised through email in a number of ways.

Find out how to protect yourself online.

The above notice is from the Government of Canada’s Get Cyber Safe campaign, in support of National Cyber Security Awareness Month.