Proofreading. Sure, this may not do you much good against people stealing your mail or going through your trash. But it will absolutely serve you well to become an amateur proofreader to protect yourself against a form of identity theft know as phishing.
We’ve all received those e-mails supposedly from our bank or lending institution “warning” us of a breach of their system and asking you to log on and update your information. Now, if you just browse through these e-mails without thinking twice about the spelling or grammar mistakes you see, you just might click on the link and update. But if you read these missives carefully with your proofreader’s hat on, those typos and grammatical errors should raise a giant red flag.
Why? Lending institutions go through meticulous review processes before sending out anything to customers. Not that every single piece that goes out is flawless. It’s just extremely, extremely unlikely that there would be major typos or mistakes—e.g. saying “your” instead of “you’re”, etc.
So, when you see mistakes like that, you might want to phone the bank and ask them about the correspondence. Or click on the link and see if the name of the bank is actually in the url. Chances are it won’t be. Delete that e-mail immediately.
As a copywriter, you do tend to casually “proof” everything you read out of habit. While it may annoy some, it’s a habit that can serve you well in the business world. Yes, it can help you protect yourself from identity theft scams as in the example. It’s also a good lesson for your own e-mail correspondence.
All too often, people don’t take the time to give their e-mails a quick proof before hitting “send.” Consequently, punctuation, spelling, capitalization and other basic rules of grammar go out the window. Does this raise any major red flags cause you to lose any points? Depends on the person. The real question is, why risk it? Especially when it’s usually just reading something twice.