Email Spam & Phishing

  • What is Spam?
    Spam is the use of electronic messaging systems to send unsolicited—usually undesired—bulk messages indiscriminately. Some spam is merely annoying, while other spam can result in a number of very bad outcomes for unsuspecting recipients.

    What is Phishing?
    Phishing is a specific type of spam. Phishing or spoofing is the term used for deceitful or fraudulent emails designed to trick people to provide personal information that leaves them vulnerable to identity theft, computer viruses, and compromised email accounts. The number and sophistication of phishing scams continues to increase. Non email types of phishing include phony websites or phone calls that ask the potential victim to supply or verify personal information.
    How do I Recognize a Phishing Message?
    • Typically uses urgent or exciting language.
    • Asks for passwords, bank account information, usernames, credit card numbers, Social Security numbers.
    • Often has grammatical, typographical, or other editorial errors (but the more sophisticated phishes may not).
    How Can I Avoid Getting Phished?
    The GSD Tech Department will never ask you to provide a password via email.
    • Look for #GSDHELP. The GSD Tech Department will include this in the subject line of all official email.
    • Do not respond to any suspicious email by clicking on links or filling out forms with personal or financial information.
    • Do not send sensitive information over the Internet if you're not confident about the security of the website.
    • Unless you're certain of a person's identity and authority to request such information, never provide your personal information or information about your company/organization via email, text, or over the phone.
    • Remember that if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
    • Ask yourself, why would you be singled out for a windfall or other special treatment out of the millions of other Internet users. Such offers are almost always a scam.
    • Don't believe everything you read. Just because an email or web site is presented attractively doesn't mean that it's telling you the truth.
    • Be patient. Too many users end up the victims of Internet crime because they do not stop to think, but instead act on impulse clicking on a "sexy" link or an interesting looking attachment without thinking of the possible consequences.
    • If you think an email may not be legitimate, attempt to verify it by contacting the company or organization directly. But don't use the contact information provided in the email to make contact, it could be bogus; look up the organization's contact information yourself.
    • Double-check the URLs of websites you visit. Some phishing websites look identical to the actual site, but the URL may be subtly different.