I know, you can't believe it, right? You would never click on a link from an email address that you didn't know, right? Well, just in case anybody has forgotten, I'm here to remind you, don't click on that link. Don't click on anything - ever. Well, I guess you have to click on some things sometimes. So here are some tips to keep you safe.
First, change your instinctual "click the link" reaction and read the email first. That sounds easy but these days people just don't read emails, and it's especially easy to ignore the actual text when there's a pretty bright blue link that's going to explain it all quickly and easily without you having to skim a single word. Don't do this! Read the email. If it doesn't make sense to you, think twice. If it does make sense to you, think twice anyway. Many hackers and sundry ne'er-do-wells will use subjects that apply universally. So you may find yourself wondering "how did he know I needed help with my social media accounts?" Here is your answer: everybody needs help with their social media accounts. Don't click that link.
If you don't know who it's from, assume it's from a terrible person that is trying to hack into your computer. It sounds mean and judgmental, right? How do I know email@example.com is a bad person? His email said he tried to call you several times today. Wouldn't it be rude not to venture onto his website to see just what he's about? The only safe way to be on the internet is to believe that every person you don't know is trying to steal your stuff - and maybe some of the people you do know because truthfully, you don't know that grandma sent you that email.
If they don't give you the REAL link, they're trying to steal your stuff. Hover over the link that you see in the email (don't click it - see above) and you'll see the actual link appear below your cursor or in the information bar at the bottom of your email program, depending on what program you use. If it's not the same as the text of the link, they're trying to trick you.
Finally, if in doubt, just don't click. And if you are genuinely curious, Google it. I know that sounds like a lot of trouble, but just wait until your bank information or your complete identity is stolen. Then you'll know real trouble. Just don't click it. It won't keep you 100% safe on the internet - the only way to be 100% safe on the internet is to not be on the internet in the first place - but it's a good place to start.