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Don't get Hooked!

How to Spot a Phishing email:

Who is the message From? Who is the Reply-To? 

  • In Zimbra if you hover over the From or Reply-To name or any clickable links, it will display the actual email address or web address.    
  • It is easy to fake a From email address.  Don't be fooled even if the From is @pittstate.edu  
  • Does the web address start with: www.pittstate.edu or go.pittstate.edu - if not, be suspicious.  Remember to hover your mouse over the link to see where the link will actuallly take you.

There is a sense of urgency.    

  • If you don't take action right now your account will be closed.

The email asks for personal information.  

  • Your email user name and password is personal information!
  • Your credit card number or bank account information is personal information.

The email has bad grammar, odd formatting, or misspelled words.

  • If it looks odd, be suspicious

The email is not signed by an actual person or there is no phone number to call for questions.

  • The closing is from a generic "System Administrator", "Information Technology Services", or "IT Help Desk" instead of an actual person.

What if the email is from UPS, FedEx, airline, or cell phone company?

  • There are lots of emails that "appear" to be from legitimate companies.  If you aren't expecting a package, purchased a plane ticket, etc... then be suspicious of these emails.  
  • A safe practice is to go directly to the company's website and use that contact information.  Not the information provided in the email.
  • Never click the links in an email and provide personal information.  Legitimate companies will not send an email asking for this information.

NOTE:  With a spear phishing attack (very targeted attack), you may even see words like "OIS", "Zimbra", "Pittsburg State University". The inclusion of these words does not make the email any more legitimate.  This just means the attackers have done their research.

Legitimate emails from PSU will NEVER, ever, ask for your password.

Phishing Examples

Example 1

Example 2