Using Caution with Email Attachments

While email attachments are a popular and convenient way to send documents, they are also a common source of viruses. Use caution when opening attachments, even if they appear to have been sent by someone you know.

What steps can you take to protect yourself and others in your address book?

  • Be wary of unsolicited attachments, even from people you know – Just because an email message looks like it came from a friend, family member or even your employer doesn’t mean that it did. Many viruses can “spoof” the return address, making it look like the message came from someone else. If you can, check with the person who supposedly sent the message to make sure it’s legitimate before opening any attachments.
  • Keep protection software up to date – Install software patches so that attackers can’t take advantage of known problems or vulnerabilities. Many operating systems offer automatic updates. If this option is available, you should enable it.
  • Trust your instincts – If an email or email attachment seems suspicious, don’t open it, even if your anti-virus software indicates that the message is clean. Attackers are constantly releasing new viruses, and the anti-virus software might not have the signature. If something about the email or the attachment makes you uncomfortable, there may be a good reason.
  • Turn off the option to automatically download attachments – To simplify the process of reading email, many email programs offer the feature to automatically download attachments. Check your settings to see if your software offers this option.
  • Consider creating separate accounts on your computer – Most operating systems give you the option of creating multiple user accounts with different privileges. Consider reading your email on an account with restricted privileges. Some viruses need “administrator” privileges to infect a

Heritage Trust is committed to educating our members on fraud, and a variety of additional security topics in an effort to protect you and your account information. For more tips on how you can protect yourself and privacy, visit our Member Protection Center.

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