As a former systems administrator (which comes in handy when writing about technology) I know some things that seem basic to me, but I realize after talking to people aren’t necessarily all that common of knowledge. Today, we talk about the email address on your website.
Website Email Address
You probably have an email address on your website. Of course, you do. You want people who visit your website to be able to contact you. What you might not know is that every second, of every day, there are bots out there loading webpage after webpage looking for email addresses. When it finds one, it adds it to a list, and you start getting spam.
Now, for a lot of spam, the filters on Google or your webhost provider catch the worst junk. The rest you can delete without even looking. However, some times, scumbags get clever.
Consider this: You have a freelance writing website. (Hey! Me too 🙂 You have your email address on that website. Let’s pretend it is dave @ @rcticllama.com (Good luck spamming that one.) Now, it is relatively trivial for a identity thief scumbag to out who is hosting your website. Then, said scumbag, sends you an email with a subject line like Webhost Payment Failure. Since it comes from your actual webhost, you open it. It seems legit. You follow a link to “re-enter” your payment information, and BOOM. Credit card number stolen.
One way to help avoid this is to use a separate email for your website contact email address. Make sure that you do not use that email for anything else. That way, the only emails you should be getting from that email address are questions about your website. Anything else, whether it’s an invitation to meet beautiful women from wherever, or a legitimate looking bill from your webhost is obviously a scam.
If you have already mixed your website email with another email, it’s time to start fixing it.
- Step 1: Change your real email address to something else. – It’s probably too late to save the email address on your website. By now, it’s already on hundreds of lists, and spammers trade those lists, or post them online all the time.
- Step 2: Have two “real” email addresses. – One email address will be your personal use email. Give it to clients, send email messages from it, you name it. The second will be your business sign up address. Use this email address to sign up for things you pay for. As a rule of thumb, you only use this email address when you use a credit card number. That way, you know that if you get an email from another address about anything that has to do with something you pay for, it’s bogus.
- Step 3: Monitor Your Old Email. – If you are using your original email address as your contact information email, then you’ll need to keep monitoring it anyway. If not, you do need to check it, at least until it is old enough that anyone who has it can’t expect it to work right.
By not having your true email address, or billing email address, on your website, you can save yourself a lot of time and hassle trying to figure out which emails are real, and which are hackers trying to steal everything you’ve worked hard to build.