This is the first fundamental step. You should be very careful while choosing a password for your email account. Avoid the ones that can be easily guessed like your birth date, phone number, initials, or any other similar personal details.
Opening such emails, and clicking on any of the links that they contain, will surely invite trouble (not to mention a dangerous computer virus). Thus, by activating your account's spam filter, in most cases, the potentially dangerous emails are diverted to a spam folder, where they can be deleted easily.
A common example of such attacks is a fraudulent email that is sent to you by an Internet fraudster, posing as an executive associate of your bank, and requesting you to reply with certain personal details or bank account information, failing which, your account will be penalized with a heavy fine.
Another potential threat of giving out personal details is landing up in a messy case of identity theft. Phishing attacks are presently on the rise, and therefore, always remain alert, and verify the authenticity of the sender before you reveal any personal details.
Most Internet and email viruses are sent in the form of attachments. They appear in such a way that mostly, the user will click on them. Once this happens, the virus that is hidden in these files starts creating havoc.
Therefore, you should be very careful while opening emails that contain such attachments. Make it a point to study the email's subject and the sender's validity, before you open any attachment.
It is your personal responsibility to always be aware of all the latest happenings with regard to viruses, frauds, scams, security, etc. Being up-to-date with everything that is happening in the world of Internet, can often protect you and your email account.