Be careful using “Out of Office” replies

By Patricia Egen • July 27th, 2015

Stealing your passwords, photos, data in the cloudThis weekend I sent out an email marketing campaign. My inbox then was flooded with dozens of “Out of Office” emails and it reminded me again why out of office emails are not a good idea. At least, not without careful planning and thought. Here’s why.

1. You just sent out a blaring message that you are not home. Before it wasn’t a big deal because emails typically came from business users to business users. But that model is changing and these kind of replies can end up on social media sites which then sends a very large “blinking sign” to the bad guys that you are away from your home as well as business.

2. Spammers love it when they get replies like this – it shows it is a working email address that is accepting incoming emails. After they do a happy dance for getting a “live one” you are now put on a list of “valid emails” that can now be spammed ad nauseum.

There is hope though. You or your IT department can set up replies on what is sent within your organization and what is sent outside your company.

Make your message vague – in other words don’t say you are on a 7 day cruise – just say you are away for a while and will return shortly. Less is better in this situation.

The best solution is to send out an all-hands email to your mailing list saying you will be out of the office for a while and say when you will return. You are sending it to trusted emails so you can say what you want.

A little care up front can save a lot later. Be cautious. It’s a dangerous world out there.

 

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