KSAT Money: How to avoid & protect yourself from spam texts, emails

Federal Trade Commission offers various tips to keep scammers at bay, protect your private information

FILE - (AP Photo, File) (AP, Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

SAN ANTONIO – Picture it. You’re going about your day only to discover yet another spam text message or email.

They can get pretty annoying. But these types of messages are also a security risk, and clicking on a malicious link could install malware on your device.

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The Federal Trade Commission is offering tips to prevent scammers from tricking you into giving up sensitive information, such as passwords, bank account numbers and Social Security numbers.

Filter unwanted messages

First, use filters and the block function on your phone to prevent getting messages from unknown senders.

Email service providers usually have strong filters by default, but checking your settings is crucial for your online security. Just make sure to send unwanted spam messages that do happen to land in your inbox to your junk folder.

You can also contact your cellphone service provider to see if it offers call- or message-blocking features.

Guard personal information

Ask yourself why someone would need your personal information before giving it up. Never share private information, like your Social Security number, with someone who contacts you. When in doubt, reach out to a company or organization directly.

Unsubscribe

You can unsubscribe from unwanted emails at any time. This will reduce your number of unwanted emails and help you avoid clicking on links that could lead you to a phishing attack.

Reporting spam messages

Report spam emails to your provider, and use your cellphone’s “report junk” feature or forward unwanted texts to 7726 (SPAM).

You can also report scams to the FTC at ReportFraud.ftc.gov.


About the Author

Ivan Herrera, MSB, has worked as a journalist in San Antonio since 2016. His work for KSAT 12 and KSAT.com includes covering consumer and money content, news of the day and trending stories.

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