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Etiquette at Work

If e-mail leaves you feeling queasy, go with your gut

I checked my e-mail the other morning, and while separating the junk from the real business mail, came across a message titled “Incoming Fax.” It looked legitimate. We have a new Xerox copier from which you can scan/fax directly.

“Maybe,” I thought, “someone in the office scanned something and sent it to me.”

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But then, I realized, “Why would someone in the office scan and fax a document to me when they could just hand it to me?”

I did a quick survey of people at work and sure enough, no one had scanned an image and sent it to me via the Xerox copier. We quickly realized others in our office had received similar e-mails.

It seemed a good moment to remind everyone never to open an attachment that can’t be verified as coming from someone they know. It’s even more important not to click on the attachment when it is a .zip file. You never know what type of virus may just be unleashed on your internal network.

Security for digital devices and information is critical in today’s business world. It is each person’s responsibility to be vigilant in protecting not only themselves, but also their colleagues and employers as well.

Here are tips that are easy to implement and can save a load of grief:

 Use virus detection software. It makes sense to protect yourself and be sure your computer is free of malware and viruses.

 Don’t open e-mails from people you don’t know.

 When in doubt about an e-mail from someone you do know, click on the sender’s name in the TO field and see if the address matches their complete e-mail address. Any time you’re not sure, call and ask the person if they sent you an e-mail.

 When on company time on the company network, take care with the websites you choose to visit.

As I sat down at my desk after discussing the e-mail with my colleagues, I breathed a sigh of relief. When I first saw that e-mail, my temptation was to open it — it looked so real. But then I had that funny sensation, sort of a nagging feeling in the pit of my stomach that something might be wrong.

If it turns out the e-mail was legitimate, the sender will probably contact me. That would mean a delay in getting the information initially sent, but I’ll be happier knowing I avoided a potential problem for me and my company.

E-mail questions about business etiquette to etiquetteatwork@emilypost.com.
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