Phishing and How to Avoid It


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What is phishing?

A form of deception in attempt to scam a user into giving out private information (e.g. usernames, passwords, birthdates, etc.). Phishers use this information for identity theft. Phishing is a form of social engineering. Criminals use the information they collect to steal identities and perpetrate criminal acts.

These emails may also be used to plant viruses and spyware on your computer. 


How to identify a phishing email:

  • These may appear to come from a friend, co-worker, or someone you know.
  • It may appear to come from a legitimate institution  (e.g. banks, companies, universities, social networking sites).
  • It may feature an official-looking logo or other identifying information taken from the legitimate website.
  • It may contain a link that looks like it will take you to a login page.
  • It may use phrases such as:
    • "Verify your account": A legitimate business (or GRCC) should never ask you to send your password, login name, Social Security number, or other personal information through email.
    • "If you don't respond within ___ hours, your account will be closed": A legitimate company would never have that sense of urgency or communicate critical account information through email.


What actions should I take if I receive an email that I believe is fraudulent?

If you are concerned about your account, contact the institution directly through a known phone number or known website.

Your institution may instruct you to forward the email to them.

  • Do not respond to the email.
  • Do not click any link in the email.
  • Do not copy or load any attachments or images in the email.
  • Delete the email and empty your trash.
  • Make sure your anti-virus software is up-to-date.
  • Scan your system for viruses or spyware.


Article ID: 14
Wed 7/5/17 5:00 PM
Thu 12/1/22 8:28 AM

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