INFO: Stay Safe From Phishing Attacks

Easy clues to help you keep your personal information secure

What is phishing?

Phishing is a criminal activity using social engineering techniques. Phishers attempt to fraudulently acquire sensitive information, such as usernames, passwords and credit card details, by masquerading as a trustworthy entity in an electronic communication.
The main goal of a phishing email is to get you to a site where you will provide your personal information. With these basic, but powerful, clues, you can easily recognize the threat and ensure the safety of your identity and finances.

  1. Does the email ask you to go to a website and verify personal information? Most companies won't ask you to verify your personal information in response to an email.
  2. What is the tone of the mail? Most phish emails convey a sense of urgency by threatening discontinued service or information loss if you don't take immediate action.
  3. What is the quality of the email? Many phish emails have misspellings, bad grammar, or poor punctuation.
  4. Are the links in the email valid? Deceptive links in phishing emails look like they are to a valid site, but deliver you to a fraudulent one. Many times you can see if the link is legitimate by just moving your mouse over the link.
  5. Is the email personalized with your name and applicable account information? Many phish emails use generic salutations and generic information (e.g. "Dear Customer" or "Dear Account Holder") instead of your name.
  6. What is the sender's email address? Many phish emails come from an email address not from the company represented in the email.
  7. When in doubt, type it out. If you suspect an email to be phishing, don't click on any links in the email. Type the valid address directly into your web browser.

For more information, contact the IS Service Desk