What is a Phishing Scam?

Please know that ITCS will never ask for your ECU passphrase.

Phishing emails occasionally show up in your inbox. Emails that claim to be from your bank, the IRS or the ECU Computer IT department. Phishing emails may be hard to spot, but one item you can always count on: these messages always ask for your credentials in some way. 

First, the message usually describes a digital disaster or time-sensitive emergency and then requests that you update account information immediately.  The message usually continues with dire consequences unless you reply with your passphrase, account username or Social Security Number:  money will be lost, accounts will close or some other dire situation will result.


Once you reply to this type of message, the perpetrators use your personal information to conduct fraud or to send SPAM from your email account. 

To learn more about phishing, visit the Federal Trade Commission.

Follow these tips to avoid becoming a victim

While ITCS does a good job catching most malicious messages before they are delivered, some do get through, so we count on our users to be aware of the following to avoid being a victim:

  1. NEVER reveal your passphrase to anyone.
  2. Legitimate businesses-including ECU, banks, the IRS-will NEVER request personal information through an email message.
  3. If an email asks for personal information, DELETE it.
  4. If you're unsure about an email, call the business using the phone number on the back of the bill, statement or credit card-not any phone number listed in the email.
  5. Email alerts from ECU will always originate from ITCS Notifications.
  6. If you have provided account information to a malicious site, change your password immediately at
  7. Never click the links in an email.
  8. Use antivirus and antispyware software as well as a firewall and update them regularly. As an ECU employee or student, you may download Symantec EndPoint software for your home computer for FREE from the ECU Download Center.
  9. Keep your operating system and other software up to date with the latest security patches and updates.
  10. Report spam on the email spam filter page.
  11. Forward suspected phishing emails to

Need help? Call the IT Help Desk at 252.328.9866 | 800.340.7081.