Beware of Phishing Attacks and Check Scams Over University Breaks

Last Updated: 03/17/2014

Our campus is constantly under attack by a barrage of attempts to steal personal information, often referred to as phishing. Work-from-home and check scams are also on the rise. See more about employment scams on the CUPD website.

Often these attacks come during holidays or breaks when campus IT support is unavailable. Even when you can’t contact the IT Service Center there are still clues and resources to help you figure out if the email you have received is legitimate or a phishing attempt.

The most important thing to remember is that the university will never send email asking for your private data (e.g. passwords, SSNs, credit card numbers, etc.). You should be suspicious of messages that direct you to click on a link or provide this information. In fact, a good rule of thumb is if you think it might be a phishing attempt, it probably is.

The Office of Information Technology compiles reported phishing attempts on its Phishing Emails page. Please note: this site does not report scams such as work-from-home and check scams. You can contribute to this catalog by reporting messages that you believe might be phishing attempts by following the steps on the Report Suspicious Messages page. Although the university uses technology to block malicious emails and phishing websites, this technology is no substitute for being a conscientious Internet user.

Many phishing attempts try to lure you in by saying you must respond to keep your email account active due to some event such as reaching your quota limit or a database upgrade. If your account resides on the campus Microsoft Exchange service (this applies to most faculty and staff), you can check your quota by logging into https://exchangequota.colorado.edu/quotawebapp with your IdentiKey and password.

More information about phishing and how to stay out of harm's way is on the OIT Security Awareness site.