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Richter: Caution with email important on public computers

| Wednesday, Jan. 28, 2015, 9:00 p.m.
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Pam Richter is the technology and marketing librarian at the Baldwin Borough Public Library. Follow the library on Twitter @BBPL, on Facebook Like the Baldwin Borough Public Library and you can email Pam at richterp@einetwork.net

When using email, it is important to practice certain safety procedures and precautions in order to keep your computer and account safe, especially if you use a public computer to check your messages. The first step is to make sure the password with your account is secure. Previously, I wrote about the potential for password confusion with different accounts. However, there are some general guidelines to follow when creating or changing your email password.

Make your password a minimum of eight characters with a combination of lowercase, uppercase, numbers and symbols. And never reveal your passwords to other people.

Next, here is what to do about all those unwanted, unsolicited email messages, or spam. Often. spam email can be offensive or sometimes, merely a nuisance. These typically are not coupons you receive after you sign up for a company's mailing list.

Most email accounts have spam blockers that automatically put these types of emails into a separate folder and away from your email account. But not everything is caught by the spam blocker, and if there is an email you are not sure about or think is spam, do not open or respond to the message.

Another part of email safety is downloading attachments. You can tell if a message has an attachment if it has a paper clip next to the subject line on the preview screen.

An email attachment usually is a file such as a document or image that is included in the message. This is an easy way for people to share and receive files.

Be careful to open email attachments only from reputable sources or people you know. If you receive an attachment from someone you don't know, delete it, and don't open it. This could contain information that is harmful to your computer.

Sometimes, some email problems are unavoidable, no matter what precautions we take. We still might receive spam, no matter what. It is important to use common sense, and if you aren't sure if something is legitimate, don't open it.

Pam Richter is the technology and marketing librarian at the Baldwin Borough Public Library. Follow the library on Twitter @BBPL; on Facebook, Like the Baldwin Borough Public Library; and you can email Richter at richterp@einetwork.net.

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