Be alert! New school year means new phishing scams

By Casey Hanson, Information Services

phishing-fishing-bandit-80pPULLMAN, Wash. – The start of a new school year is often coupled with an increase in reported phishing attempts to WSU Information Services Help Desk. Phishing is an email scam that tries to trick people into thinking a legitimate organization is requesting private information.

These scams request that you reply or follow a link to a site that often looks identical to the service the email is mimicking. Banks, eBay and PayPal are traditional targets.

Recently reported phishing attempts have claimed to come from WSU Help Desk or Microsoft Helpdesk Mail Support.

Increased vigilance among users is the best defense and the first step toward prevention. Here are some recommendations to protect yourself and WSU information resources:

• Message may appear to be from organizations you do business with; be wary if the message is unsolicited or unexpected.
• Message may include threatening statements to close the account if you fail to respond.
• Email greeting is usually generic and does not address you by name.
• Sent to or sent from a nonsensical email address.
• Use poor language, grammar and punctuation.
• DO NOT CLICK on links or phone numbers provided in the message. If concerned, look up the organization independently and contact it directly.
• Be cautious of links in email; use mouse hover (but DO NOT CLICK) to view actual source URL.
• Legitimate companies do not ask for personal information using email or text.
• If it looks too good to be true, it probably is.

If you receive a suspicious message, please forward the email to WSU Information Services Help Desk at and delete the email.

If you suspect you have been a victim of a phishing scam and you provided any information of a sensitive nature (login, password, account numbers, date of birth or similar information), you may need to be on the alert for evidence of identity theft and related financial fraud.

For more information regarding phishing scams, visit the Anti-Phishing Working Group at