Email safety

If someone has access to your e-mail account they may be able to read your incoming and outgoing mail:

  • Make sure you choose a password that someone will not be able to guess.
  • Change your password regularly.
  • Some e-mail programmes can automatically save addresses of mails you have sent and received, so check your address book and delete any contact details you fear could raise suspicions.

If someone sends you threatening or harassing e-mails make sure you print and save them. Although you may be tempted to delete them, especially if they are distressing, they are evidence and may help you prove that a criminal offence has been committed.

Be aware of how records of your emails can be accessed:

  • Any email you have previously sent will be stored in sent Items. Go to sent items and delete emails you don't want a person to see
  • If you started an email but didn't finish it, it might be in your drafts folder. Go to the draft folder to delete it
  • If you reply to any email, the original message will probably be in the body of the message - delete the email if you dont want anyone to see your original message.
  • When you delete an item in any email program (Outlook Express, Outlook, Thunderbird etc) it does not really delete the item - it moves the item to a folder called Deleted Items. You have to delete the items in Deleted Items to remove them completely
  • If there's a risk that your abuser may know how to access your emails, it's a good idea to set up a new email account. Use a provider like Gmail, Hotmail or Yahoo for an account you can access from anywhere, and use a name that is not recognisable as you. Keep this email secret.