VoIP Please!

In a digital world using personal information as currency, you need protection; a VoIP can help with that! Click in to learn more about it!

The entire internet is working to acquire and sell any data it can manage to gather from you; fortunately, a VoIP can help! VoIP stands for Voice over Internet Protocol. Basically, it’s an internet-based phone number, acquired on any number of apps or sites. In July, we discussed how spammers get ahold of your email address. It’s collected every time you make an account on a website, join a mailing list, etc. People buy those lists of email address, and then can spam the daylights out of you. But that’s not all! Facebook and Twitter have each admitted to giving marketers (read: spammers) our phone numbers too! Do we sign up for sites using our phone numbers? Not typically. Certainly not like email addresses! So where are they getting our digits from?

The Real Reason for a VoIP

The answer is two factor authentication (2FA for short). On many sites you can elect to prove that each of your logins are performed yourself by enabling this security feature. Typically, the site will send a code to that phone number, you type that code in on the website, and you’re in. It’s an important feature for account security, and it feels CRIMINAL that our security data, of all things, is being sold for marketing purposes.

Just like you have a spam-only email address, you can funnel all the phone-based nonsense to a VoIP! Not every website will allow an internet-based phone number for 2FA, but then there are 2FA apps to try, and so on. While it may feel like overkill, having your personal phone number gives access to documents such as your voter registration, real estate history, court proceedings, etc.

You can never tell exactly what a corporation is going to do with the data they gather. Ideally, you know all of these tips before putting your information everywhere, but it’s not exactly common knowledge! Keep checking back for more continuing education on how to keep your data YOURS in the digital age.

A Spam Email for Spam Emails

One of few ways to reduce the mind-numbing volume of spam email in your inbox is to create a trap for it. Here's how to pull that off!

Last month, we talked about how spam works in our modern digital age. We confronted the harsh reality that spam, like glitter, will never leave you fully alone. However, I mentioned a few ways you can reduce the amount that you have to deal with, and today I want to zone in on one: the spam-only email address!

If you remember my previous blog post (the one linked above), every time you enter your email address into a website, that site adds it to a huge list. On this list is everyone else who has put their email address into that site. Scammers buy these lists, and bombard the addresses with nonsense to find easy targets. Even hitting “Unsubscribe” can come with severely annoying consequences.

To get around this style of scammer, simply lean in!

Your first line of defense is a spam-only email address. This is the account that you’ll use for all your random website sign ups. If you play your cards right, this is where your spam should stay. One of the easiest places to create such an email address is Google!

Building a Spam Email

Simply create a new account, and make sure to put “spam” or “junk” or similar in the username. For example, mine could be LGMspam@gmail.com. That way I can see clearly it’s related to my business (LGM) but is designated as a spam trap. Now, I can use this to sign up for whatever I want, and I only have to see the mess it makes when I log in.

If you go this route, you may opt to, ironically, keep the spam filter low or off. That way, if you DO sign up for something legit, you can log in and find that Amazon gift card the internet promised you. Stranger things have happened.

All that’s left is to quit using your primary email address for all those Michael’s coupons! With your spam now neatly tucked away, you can go about your business with a significantly reduced spam load in your primary inbox. Enjoy the peace!

Why Am I Getting Spam

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You’re tired of spam emails. You’ve been tired of spam emails for a long time. It’s been so long, you’ve abandoned an overflowing email address and learned to keep your new one very private. And yet, the spam keeps coming.

Am I right so far? I bet so, because this is so common! Scammers and hackers are everywhere, and they want desperately to get ahold of your information and into your system. There are all kinds of ways they work their evil magic, and MAN are they persistent!

From Spam to Scam

Emails are an absolute favorite of online scammers: once you have the email addresses, they cost nothing, they take little time to put together, they require almost no maintenance, and they can be very tricky! Getting the email addresses is the only part that costs, as scammers often buy them in bulk. So how does your email address end up in those lists?

Well, being active on the internet will do it in most cases. Ever used your email for access to a cooking blog? News site? Forum? It can now be picked up by email-harvesting bots.

Another way is by unsubscribing from email lists. If you didn’t personally subscribe to that list, it may be an attempt to validate your email address. Unfortunately, clicking “Unsubscribe” will tell the originator that your account is active and ready to be sold in a nice, bulk package. This can also be done via a tracking image in the email. In this case, even opening the email will validate your address to the scammer if your email platform is set to auto-load images.

How Do I Stop It?

Frankly, there’s no way to get rid of spam emails entirely. Online tips will tell you to mark things as spam, delete the emails, don’t use your email address for anything, unsubscribe from email lists… You see why these won’t work, right?

For free, there’s only a few things you can do, and they’re not effective for long. Set up and keep up with spam filters on your email server, avoid clicking into emails you don’t recognize, use a spam-only email address for accounts when possible, and hope you don’t wind up on too many bulk lists.

Honestly, your best bet is to purchase spam protection, such as Norton or Bitdefender, and let it do the work for you. Buying a program may not be the answer you’re looking for, but email scammers are far too plentiful and far too persistent to fend off on your own. It’s not pretty, but it’s the (virtual) world we live in.

For more tips, tricks, and insights to navigating and marketing in this virtual world, keep an eye on this blog, and book a consultation!

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