Phishing is a scam where fraudsters attempt to obtain personal, financial information from unsuspecting users by masquerading as a legitimate business or organization like a bank, online payment service, internet service provider (ISP) or even a government agency. Phishing email messages often include official-looking logos from real organizations and other identifying information taken directly from legitimate websites.These messages direct you to websites that look and feel almost identical to the legitimate organization's site and may be infected with malware. The purpose is to obtain your personal information so the sender can steal your identity and run up bills or commit fraud or other crimes in your name.
Some e-mail scams are easy to spot. Like most too good to be true offers, these scams promise much, but deliver nothing. Lately, phishing scams are becoming increasingly deceptive and having found a multitude of ways to mask their attempts to con people out of money and valuable information; can dupe even the savviest Internet user.
How can you Protect Yourself?
- Be suspicious of unsolicited email messages.
- Do not respond to emails requesting personal or financial information.
- Check the website's security before sending any sensitive information.
- Check the web address in the address bar. A website on a secure server starts with "https://"
- Always check the URL of a website. Malicious websites may look identical to a legitimate site, but the URL may use a variation in spelling or a different domain (e.g., .com vs. .net).
- Be cautious about opening attachments or downloading any files from emails you receive, regardless of who sent them.
- If you are unsure whether an email request is legitimate, try to verify it by contacting the company directly. Do not use contact information provided on any email connected to the request.
- Review online accounts like credit card and bank statements regularly for unauthorized charges.
- Use anti-virus software and update regularly.
- Anti-Virus software installation and update will help detect and disable viruses and other malicious software that might be on your computer.
- Always report any suspicious activity.
- Forward any phishing emails you receive on your CSU account to OITHelpDesk@coppin.edu.
- Forward phishing emails you receive on your personal accounts to the company, bank, or organization impersonated in the phishing email (Companies usually have a dedicated email addresses to report such activities).
- You can also report phishing emails to email@example.com.
- Internet and Safety - Maryland Attorney General
- Anti-Phishing Working Group - APWG
- Phishing Quick Facts - OnGuardOnline.gov
- Email Scams Quick Facts - OnGuardOnline.gov
- Botnets, Hackers and Spam – Federal Trade Commission (PDF)
- Email and Web Scams: How to Protect Yourself - Microsoft
For any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.