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Phishing E-mails

Here are some tips on what to look out for, and how to deal with them accordingly:

  • Pay attention to the e-mail sender. Sometimes the return address will come from a source unrelated to the company mentioned. Other times, the address will use a well-known company name, but send the message from a webmail account like hotmail or gmail. These are obvious indicators.

  • Phishing e-mails will use well-reputed company names as a cover. Commonly used names are PayPal, Ebay, Credit Card Companies, or Banks. If in doubt as to whether an e-mail is legitimate, forward it to customer service department of the actual company and have them confirm that the e-mail is genuine.

  • Oftentimes, e-mail messages will attempt to create a sense of urgency by threatening account suspension or imploring you to confirm account information lest some severe consequence take place. Don't be fooled by these tactics.

  • Watch out for obvious spelling and grammatical errors, or overuse of capitalization or exclamation points. These are immediately identifiable telltale signs.

  • Note that most companies will not ask for any personal information in an e-mail message, including social security, credit card, tax ID, and PIN numbers, credit card security codes, passwords, and your mother's maiden name.

  • Beware of any attachments or links in e-mail messages, as they may carry potentially threatening materials.

  • For links embedded in a message, check the web address and make sure it clearly states the address of the company being mentioned.

  • Never go to a website address that is an IP address - in other words, an address that is a series of numbers separated by periods (e.g.

  • Do not "unsubscribe" from e-mails when the message does not come from a trusted source, as this could be another attempt to try to have you click on links to disreputable websites.

  • The best and fastest way to deal with phishing e-mails is to simply recognize them, leave them closed, and delete them.