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Not only were more spam and phishing mails sent out last year, the quality of these messages keeps getting better, too. We will explain how you can protect yourself.

In accordance with their own figures, the two German e-mail providers WEB.DE and GMX have identified a total of more than 117 million spam e-mails every day last year. One year earlier, this still amounted to some 105 million. As per Cisco report, the occurrence of spam worldwide has reached levels unseen since 2010. But it is not just the volume which has risen; quality has changed, too: If a text in badly written German used to ask you to click a phishing link inside an e-mail in the past, phishing mails now look deceptively similar to genuine newsletters or invoices sent by major companies.

Content-wise, so-called CEO spam is still very popular. In these, attackers purport to be a company’s CEO, and are asking an employee to remit a large sum of money at short notice. Another spam trend are emotional messages meant to either intimidate, scare or rouse people’s curiosity.

Under no circumstances provide any data in reply to these e-mails, and never click on any links, but delete such e-mails immediately. Financial institutions will never ask you to disclose any security details (such as passwords) by e-mail or telephone.

To reduce the number of spam mail in your inbox generally, you should follow these rules:

  • Cautious disclosure of your e-mail addresses
    Please be cautious and careful when giving out your e-mail addresses. Don’t just disclose them just anywhere.
  • Use of several graded e-mail addresses
    Use different e-mail addresses, graded by importance or confidentiality of your partner with whom you communicate via e-mail.
  • No short e-mail addresses
    Fraudsters often use software simply trying out all combinations of short addresses. Choosing a long e-mail address can offer a certain degree of protection.
  • Using filters in e-mail software
    Most e-mail software (e. g. Microsoft Outlook) includes functions enabling you to filter all e-mails received. Do use these (e. g. junk e-mail).
  • Spam filters
    Providers employ certain solutions to minimize spam problems. To do so, all e-mails received are analysed for certain criteria (e. g. subject line, return address, key words in the e-mail text, etc.) and classified as wanted or unwanted e-mails depending on the rules installed.

Please also note our Info sheet to protect against spam and our Information to protect yourself against phishing.

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