Phishing & Email Scams

Phishing is a bogus request for passwords and other identity information.

USU students, faculty, and staff are often targeted by hackers in phishing/email scams.

If you become a victim, hackers can have access to your email and other accounts and wreak havoc on your personal and financial information.

Common hazards to watch out for:

Familiar Message Format

Does the email look almost like it's from Verizon, PayPal or Amazon or other common businesses or agencies? Hackers will use a familiar message format, but the transaction or issue presented may be unexpected or alarming.  The links probably all go to a hacked website that may attempt to steal your password or download malware.

Email Attachments

Hackers can send email attachments that contain malware that can steal your identity or take over your computer when the attachment is opened. Don't fall prey to blank or vague messages begging you to open attachments that can affect your computer. Only open well-explained attachments from senders you trust.

Free Offers
Does the email have a free offer? If they give you what you expect, they have probably taken your personal information or control of your computer without telling you.

Web Links
Be wary of web links that look almost like the ones you trust. is not the same as and isn't Wells Fargo either. If you hover over the link and it shows you a different address than what is listed, don't click!

Password Collection Sites
You might receive a phish message with a link like one of these:
Test Your Skills

USU Anti-Phishing Quiz (soon)
UTK Anti-Phishing Game
The US Phishing Scan Game
Outsmart Internet Scammers