Recognize and Report Email Scams
The IRS needs your information now! A friend or colleague shared a document with you! Your account will be shut off! Is the email real? How do you know?
Email scams (known as phishing) are a common method to trick you into visiting a fraudulent website, opening an infected document, or logging in to "validate your email account." These emails, websites, documents, or login pages may be obviously fraudulent, or may look exactly like the University's login page. Higher education institutions are popular targets for these scams.
Recognize Email Scams
- From official sounding senders like “UMN Edu Team,” “Service,” “HelpDesk,” “Customer Service,” or even a colleague, professor, or friend.
- Include threats or dire consequences if you don't act quickly. You are asked to pay ransom to access your data.
- Links to a login page that may or may not look exactly like the University's login page but the web address does not end in .umn.edu or may be shortened by services like tinyURL.
- May ask you to open a shared document you may or may not be expecting.
- May ask you to bypass policy/procedures.
- May ask you not to tell anyone.
- Learn to recognize the difference between fake and official University Google log in page
- Learn what to do with SPAM-unsolicited commercial email
What Not to Do
- DO NOT give your passwords and other sensitive information to an unverified party online, over the phone, or in person.
- DO NOT click any links contained in the message.
- DO NOT open any attached files or shared documents.
- DO NOT provide personal information such as passwords in a reply to an email.
- DO NOT submit passwords through Google Forms.
- DO NOT violate policy.
Report Email Scams
- Check the examples on the Phishing Scams Targeting the University blog.
- If in doubt, reach out! Ask for a second opinion (email@example.com). Forward the original text of scam email to firstname.lastname@example.org (include email headers if possible).
- Report in Gmail (select the “Report spam” button or “More” and then “Report phishing” option; this helps to educate Google).
Take Immediate Action If You Think You Are a Victim
- If you responded to a scam email or clicked on a link, immediately change your University Internet password and account secrets.
- If you opened an attached file or shared document, your files, identity, personal information, or the University’s data may be at risk. Contact Technology Help staff.
- Visit identitytheft.gov to learn about immediate protective actions you can take.