A Message from Office of Information Technology About E-mail Phishing Schemes

February 22, 2012

Phishing is a fraudulent process spammers use to acquire confidential information such as usernames, passwords, and personal or financial details. E-mail recipients are often deceived by phishing attempts because messages appear to be sent by legitimate and trustworthy sources.  

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has warned of a new wave of e-mail phishing scams, where individuals are lured into providing personal information by e-mail to criminals posing as the agents of the IRS. While the e-mail may appear to originate from the IRS, individuals are directed to a fraudulent Web site and directed to enter their personal information. In the event that you receive a message fitting this description, close the message immediately and report it as spam. 

Here are tips to help avoid becoming a victim of a phishing scam:  

  1. Never disclose information such as PINs, passwords, or similar secret access information for credit card, bank, or other financial accounts through any e-mail solicitation. Phishing scams often include logos and graphics of banks, companies, and institutions to make e-mails appear official.  
  2. If you are unsure whether an e-mail is legitimate, open a new browser and type the address of the correct Web site to view your account information or alerts.  
  3.  If you suspect an e-mail may not be legitimate, do not open any attachments or click any links. Attachments and links may cause malicious code to infect your computer.  
  4. Do not reply to the message or attempt to unsubscribe.  
  5. Mark the e-mail as spam.  

For information about resources and support from the Office of Information Technology, visit 360 Support.