Neil Pansey Offers Practical Advice on Protecting Your Email Account

"Neil G. Pansey has been recognized by his peers and by those he manages as well as those he reports to as a man of integrity and sound character."

Email, text messaging, and other forms of online communication have become the norm, says Neil Pansey. However, they also make people more vulnerable to digital assaults, including viruses and scams. In the following interview, Pansey answers a few common questions and offers practical advice on protecting oneself online.

Q: How effective is security software? Do I really need it?

Neil Pansey: A good security software is the first line of defense against phishing scams, hacks, and malware programs, so it’s important to have your Internet-connected PC, laptop, tablet, and phone protected. A good software is packaged with a firewall, which works to shield your computer from outside traffic.

Q: Is it always safe to open attachments from friends and family?

Neil Pansey: Not always. Sometimes, they may have been hacked and a virus sent from their email address in an innocent looking message. Other times, savvy individuals can send a phony email with someone else’s name displayed – as for example large financial companies, like PayPal.

Q: What’s the best way to protect my email and social media accounts?

Neil Pansey: First, I would advise against logging into your account from a public computer, such as one that’s used by the public at your local library or hotel. It is also essential to use strong passwords. Try to create passwords that contain a combination of letters, numbers, symbols, and different capitalizations. It’s best to have a different password for each account, especially email and social media, which may contain sensitive personal information.

Q: Should I respond to spam emails?

Neil Pansey: It may be very tempting to delve further into a suspicious message, but I don’t suggest it. Even attempting to unsubscribe from an email list could set you up to receive more potentially dangerous spam messages.

Q: How should I handle pop-up screens from trusted websites?

Neil Pansey: I would say a good rule of thumb is to install a pop-up blocker to eliminate these annoyances completely. Sometimes, websites legitimately have pop-up screens. These may offer information on things such as when the site is going to be down for maintenance. However, a pop-up may be an elaborate scam by an outside organization to either invade your computer or collect your name, telephone number, address, Social Security Number, or other private information.

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