We’ve all seen bogus email messages before:
- "You must verify your account information immediately! If you don’t respond within 48 hours your account will be closed! Click here to enter your username and password!"
They’re called phishing messages, and they are one of the fastest growing threats on the internet. So what happens if you click that link and enter your information? You will have unwittingly exposed your banking/credit card/e-mail information to the con artist on the other end, which can result in identity theft. Some phishing e-mails also contain harmful viruses or unwanted software that track your online activities or slow your computer.
The following tips will help you recognize phishing attempts and prevent your personal information from falling into the wrong hands:
- OU IT will NEVER ask for your log in information via email.
- Do not respond to e-mails requesting personal information. Financial institutions will never ask for your information through e-mail. If you receive an e-mail from your financial institution, call or visit their website through your browser, but do not click on the link within the email.
- Be extremely stingy when asked for your personal information over the phone, on the web, through email, or in person. Accidentally giving your account information to strangers can negatively impact your credit score, your good standing with a company, or even your bank account.
- Check the web address. You can tell if your connection to a website is protected by looking at the address bar. Only enter sensitive personal data on websites that begin with https://. A website that only has http:// is not using encryption to protect the data you send to it.
- Verify the security certificate issued to a site before submitting any personal information. You can check the certificate details by double-clicking the yellow lock icon that is usually at the bottom of your web browser. If the browser warns you about a problem with the security certificate, be sure to investigate the validity of the site further before proceeding with entering sensitive data on that site.
- Utilize free downloadable phishing filters, which can help recognize whether or not you are visiting a legitimate website.
- Change your password immediately if you have accidentally responded to one of these messages with your personal information. You can change your OUNet ID password by visiting account.ou.edu.
Spam is annoying – and no, we're not talking about the canned meat. It’s time consuming. It crowds your inbox with subjects like:
- Lose a Pound a Week the Safe Way!
- Attract Women Easily! Please Read!
- This is Not Spam!
More than 90% of the e-mail messages sent to campus are spam. OU IT blocks about 85% of all messages as spam. However, we cannot block all spam at a campus-wide level without increasing "false positives," legitimate messages that get tagged as spam.