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Information Technology

Don’t Be a Victim of Phishing

February 01, 2017

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The phishing phenomenon is unfortunately happening more and more frequently. Statistics show that there was a 55% increase in phishing attacks from 2015 to 2016.  As organizations are becoming more and more competent at protecting their systems, phishing attacks which target individuals are becoming more sophisticated and the new norm.

What phishing emails are trying to obtain is your personal information with which phishers can steal your identity, file your tax return, steal your financial information, and/or continue the phish by sending it to others through your account.

So, at this point in time, our best defense is awareness.  Here are some general tips for protecting yourself from phishing scams:

  1. Check the email address that sent the message.  It is a common practice for phishers to “spoof” an email address.  That means that while it says a name of a person you recognize, the email address of the sender is actually someone different.

  2. Always be careful of any email requesting or containing links or attachments that request personal information, such as social security number, passwords, etc.  When in doubt, go to the website of an organization manually. Do not use a link sent in an email.

  3. Be leery of scare tactics, i.e. “If you don’t do something right away all your email will be deleted!”

  4. Watch for bad grammar.  Often times, people fall prey to phishing because they are simply scanning their email and miss the signs that an email doesn’t sound or look right.  We are lucky to be part of a college community that generally uses good grammar to communicate!

  5. Be cautious of opening attachments that you are not expecting or that come from unknown senders. Question it if something seems “phishy”. Phishing attachments may contain malicious software that could infect your computer and steal information from it.

  6. Make sure to have up-to-date anti-virus software on your computer and run full scans of your computer regularly.  If you do not have up-to-date software, please contact us at the IT Service Desk ( to discuss your options.

Please visit the Information Security website for further information on how to report a suspected phishing scam and how best to recover if you, or someone you know, becomes a victim of a phishing scam.

For more information:

Information Technology Service Desk