Phishing scams are typically fraudulent email messages appearing to come from legitimate enterprises (e.g., your school, your Internet service provider, your bank). These messages usually direct you to a spoofed website or otherwise get you to divulge private information (e.g., passphrase, credit card, or other account updates). The perpetrators then use this private information to commit identity theft.
One type of phishing attempt is an email message stating that you are receiving it due to fraudulent activity on your account, and asking you to "click here" to verify your information.
Phishing scams are crude social engineering tools designed to induce panic in the reader. These scams attempt to trick recipients into responding or clicking immediately, by claiming they will lose something (e.g., email, bank account). Such a claim is always indicative of a phishing scam, as responsible companies and organizations will never take these types of actions via email.
Avoiding Phishing Scams
To guard against phishing scams, consider the following:
HACC and other reputable organizations will never use email to request that you reply with your password, full Social Security number, or confidential personal information. Be suspicious of any email message that asks you to enter or verify personal information, through a website or by replying to the message itself. Never reply to or click the links in such a message. If you think the message may be legitimate, go directly to the company's website (i.e., type the real URL into your browser) or contact the company to see if you really do need to take the action described in the email message.
HACC's Office of Information Systems and Technology (OIST) will NOT send you emails that:
Ask for your password, claim it is expiring, or direct you to reset it via a link.
- Mention anything relating to your mailbox quota or storage limit.
- Direct you to verify or validate your mail account by clicking a link.
- Claim you need to update settings on your email account because of a system upgrade (to Web Mail, Outlook, OWA, Office 365, etc.)
SUBJECT: IT SUPPORT
Due to recent upgrades on our servers Your 5 (Five) incoming Emails are on hold. Please validate below to retrieve your email
click RESET to retrieve your email.
We are sorry for the inconvenient.
With best regards
SUBJECT: TECHNICAL UPDATE
From: Kercheville, Scott E [mailto:email@example.com]
Sent: Thursday, September 28, 2017 11:10 AM
To: Kercheville, Scott E <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: TECHNICAL UPDATE
We will be performing several software updates on our servers today at 9pm EST (2:00 GMT). The maintenance is required in order to keep our servers secure and up-to-date.
All users are required to click HERE in order to automatically update his/her account.
Notice: To ensure you receive our future emails such as maintenance and update notification, kindly make sure your account is updated as an active user.