Phishing is a term used to describe scams designed to steal your identity. Scam artists try to obtain your personal information - passwords, credit card numbers, account numbers, birthday, or other information - by impersonating a person or company you trust. Phishing can be conducted via e-mail, websites, telephone, or even postal mail. Common impersonations include social media sites, shipping services, banking services, and payroll services. When in doubt, it's always best to check with a trusted friend or call the company or individual with a number you already know to verify the request is genuine.

Technology Services will never ask you to email us your password or complete a form to "validate" or "upgrade" your account. Fraudulent messages often pose as legitimate services you are familiar with in an attempt to trick you to act quickly and without thinking.

How will I recognize a phishing scam?

  • Unsolicited requests for personal information are a clear danger signal
  • Uses a real organization or company name but the link goes to a different obscure website
  • Name and email address don’t match
  • Attempt to prove legitimacy using words such as “Official”, “Important”, or “Urgent”
  • Poor grammar and/or misspellings
  • A visual guide to common phishing characteristics

How can I avoid responding to a phishing scam?

  • Never send passwords, bank account numbers, or other private information in an email.
  • Avoid clicking on links in emails you aren't expecting, especially any that are requesting private information.
  • Be wary of any unexpected email attachments or links, even from people you know.
  • Look for ‘https://’ and a lock icon in the address bar before entering any private information.
  • Confirm with someone you trust, or by contacting the Tech Spot directly, before replying to a suspicious message.

How can I report a suspected phishing scam?

  1. The best way to report phishing - and the easiest for you - is to use the tools built into Outlook Online. While viewing the suspicious message, simply click the Junk or Reply menus and choose Phishing as shown below with red arrows.
    Screen capture of junk and phishing message reporting buttons from Microsoft Outlook Online.
  2. Then click the red "Report" button to submit the item. While Office 365 already quarantines email that is likely SPAM or Phishing, reporting a message helps Microsoft improve the service.
    Confirmation screen and descriptive text explaining message will be shared with Microsoft if you proceed.