Thieves Key On "Out of Office" Notes

December 6, 2002 ( - British blue chip user group The Infrastructure Forum (Tif) warns that those "out of office" emails may tip thieves off to your vacation schedule.

According to the Tif report, thieves will often buy large email lists and send out junk emails, in an attempt to get “out of office” replies from workers on vacation.   Once those replies are received, criminals can cross reference the email address to obtain personal information, such as name, telephone number and address.

“You wouldn’t go on holiday with a note pinned to your door saying who you were, how long you were away for and when you were coming back, so why would you put this in an email?” said David Roberts, chief executive at Tif.

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To avoid this problem, Tif offers suggestions for employees who will be out of the office.

  • Keep “away” messages bland
  • Redirect inquiries to another colleague
  • Do not give out your job title
  • Do not say you are away on vacation
  • Do not put personal contact information on your email