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While many people send text messages to communicate these days, email is certainly not going anywhere. Not only is it the primary method of communication with most businesses, but an email address is also required for nearly everything you have to sign up for online. From promotional emails to an account online, you likely submit your email address to an online form multiple times a month and do not think twice about it. After all, it seems relatively harmless to just list your email address so you can get a discount for free shipping when you are buying Christmas gifts. However, though email remains the number one way people communicate online, it is still not a secure method of communication. By putting your email address out there regularly, even if it is not publicized on a website anywhere, you are increasing the risk that your inbox will be hacked or otherwise made more insecure. The good news is that there are steps you can take to ensure the safety of your messages.

First, when you are setting up your password or changing it, do not go with a generic password that may or may not fall on the “ten most used passwords” list. You should also come up with a unique login rather than using the same password more than once. When possible, you should also enable two-factor authentication. You can also encrypt your messages. Google automatically encrypts emails if Chrome is the default browser, though this does have limitations. If the recipient does not have a Gmail address or if another browser is used, the encryption does not work. Microsoft Outlook also offers an encryption option to keep your messages safe.

Overall, it is important to remember that email is not a private method of communication. Use caution when opening and responding to emails, and remember to keep your information safeguarded as much as you can.