Don't be "Phooled" by Phishing Scams

What is Phishing?

Whoever said, “Sharing is nice, ” wasn’t referring to your ECU passphrase. You’ve received them, those “almost-looks-real-but-not-quite” emails claiming to be from your bank, the IRS or the ECU Computer IT department. The latest one is sent from a bogus “Microsoft Customer Support” department.

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. This is called “phishing.” It is illegal, and it is a growing threat at ECU.

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

Tips to Remember

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 tips to avoid being a victim:

  • NEVER reveal your passphrase to anyone.
  • Legitimate businesses—including ECU, banks, the IRS—will NEVER request personal information through an email message.
  • If an email asks for personal information, DELETE it.
  • 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.
  • Email alerts from ECU will always originate from ITCS Notifications.
  • If you have provided account information, change your password immediately at
  • Never click the links in an email.
  • 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.
  • Keep your operating system and other software up to date with the latest security patches and updates.
If you think you may have been a victim of phishing or if your email suddenly doesn't work, call the ITCS Help Desk at 252.328.9866/800.340.7081.

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