November 3, 2015

How to Handle Suspicious Emails

By Jennifer Paradise

Every morning Monday through Friday, what's more than likely the first thing you do when you arrive at work? Hang up your coat? Pour yourself a cup of coffee? Talk about last night's episode of Game of Thrones with your coworker? Okay, maybe not everyone does that. Checking email is probably high up on everyone's list.

Let's pretend that today you received an email from someone that you didn't know. That's not uncommon, right? We work at a university and people that we don't know email us questions all of the time. However you get a creeping suspicion that this email is different. This person wants to transfer $100,000 into your bank account. While this might be an amazing opportunity for you to finally buy that sleek red convertible you've been eyeing for years, you know it's a scam. It's too good to be true.

What are your next steps?

  1. Don't reply. Don't click any links in the email. If something from the email tries to run on your computer, don't allow it.
  2. Forward a copy of the email to spam@svsu.edu and support@svsu.edu to let ITS know what's going on. There is a chance that others have received this email as well.
  3. Delete the email.

While you may not have saved the world in a grand fashion, you have done your part to keep yourself and others in the SVSU community a bit safer. Email phishing is not a joke. While the word "phishing" looks and sounds rather humorous, it is a real threat that we take very seriously in ITS. No one should be asking for information that could compromise your identity, job, or safety.

Sophos, the manufacturer of our anti-virus software, has a series of short videos that talk about security tips for the workplace including this one about suspicious emails.

Also, here is a poster that you can print and post in your office to remind yourself and others to be cautious with suspicious emails. While we could all benefit from a few extra dollars in our pockets courtesy of a generous stranger, it's too good to be true and we shouldn't fall for it.

Suspicious Emails (302kB)

A smaller image linking to the suspicious emails poster.