Beware of “Phishing” E-mails that Appear to Come from Banks and Other Businesses

Article originally published in a different format

Members of the campus community are advised to learn about the illegal
e-mail scam known as "phishing" to avoid becoming a victim of identity theft.

Do you know when you are being phished? It happens every time you receive an
e-mail message that appears to be from a bank or other business such as ebay, Paypal, and the like, and the message urges you to go to a website where confidential information such as your account number and Social Security number is requested. Do NOT respond to the e-mail, nor fill in any information on the website. Legitimate businesses would never seek personal information in this manner.

Thousands of such e-mail messages flood the university’s e-mail system every day. They are fraudulent, and members of the campus community are cautioned not to respond to them under any circumstances and never reveal personal and confidential information such as credit card numbers and social security numbers.

Phishing (or pfishing) is an illegal scam that usually ends up in identity theft for its victims. Phishing tricks unsuspecting people into providing confidential details by requesting that they "validate" personal or financial information, or it sends them to fake websites that appear identical to authentic online business or government sites to collect their personal information. Phishing messages sometimes warn that your account will expire if you do not comply. No matter how compelling or urgent these messages are, you can be sure that they are phishing if you did not initiate the contact.

If you have been victimized by identity theft, check this federal government website for advice about the next steps to take.

To help avoid receiving such e-mails in the future, use Can-IT, the anti-spam service available on Ohio State's central e-mail system. Learn how to activate Can-IT for your e-mail address.

For more information on phishing scams, and on safe computing in general, refer to:

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