Here are some simple rules to follow to minimize the effect of email spam on your computer.
Basic spam rules:
1. Never open an attachment you don't know.
2. Don't open email from strangers with strange or missing subject headings.
3. Disable the preview pane--the window where the content of an email can display without your opening it.
Know your spam:
Most spam is merely marketing designed to get you to buy something. Beware, however, of--
1. Scams. It is very common for scammers to ask for sensitive information such as a bank account number in an email. Do not give up this information.
2. "Phishing." Phishing refers to emails that look very much like legitimate correspondence from a bank or other institution. These typically contain links that may lead to very authentic-looking websites. Never give out account information after following such a link; report the email to your bank. They are familiar with these scams and do not solicit such information via email.
To do business with your bank, go directly to their home page yourself, not by clicking an email link.
3. Viruses. Virus generally spread via email attachments. Refer to the basic spam rules above to minimize your risk.
Buy virus protection and keep it updated:
Here are some of the better known brands, but shop around, many are available--