Phishing Signs - What to watch for

"Click here" to confirm your personal information or upgrade your account

You will often see the words "Click Here" (or something similar) in the email, with the text being linked to an outside source. If you hover over the linked text, the URL will appear. The URL is unknown to you and/or looks suspicious – the URL will not match what would come up if you Googled the site (if they are impersonating a bank or other large organization).

Phishers will use a trusted email account that has been compromised

If a western email account user has unknowingly opened an email that was phishing for information, their email account could be compromised without their knowledge. By getting access to email accounts, phishers are able to dupe users into opening their spam emails. Even though an email might appear to be from a new but "trusted" source always exercise best judgment before opening suspicious emails.

The email is signed "Help Desk" or "IT Support."

Signing an email in this fashion is a common way for hackers to try to convince users that the message is coming from your technology support team.

Phishing emails using the Western Logo to appear legitimate

Just because an email has the Western University or the Schulich logo in the header or signature does not mean that it is from a trusted source. Logo's are available to anyone through a simple Google search, keep this in mind when reading an email that you are suspicious of. If the email contains any traditional signs of phishing do not click any link and delete the email.

The text creates a sense of urgency

Often the "click here to upgrade" text, as mentioned above, will be followed by a threat or a warning indicating that your account will be deleted if you do not act quickly.

Poor grammar and misspellings exist throughout the text

Read the text slowly if you’re suspicious that it is a phishing attempt. It may have extra capitals where they’re not normally expected; mis-spellings of words; other grammatical errors such as pluralization or verb tense changing in the middle of the sentence (example: Email User Accounts for safety… having congestions due to… We are send this email to you…)

Should you be interested in testing your skill at many of the common Phishing attempts, please review Western’s Cybersmart page, and the Phishing quiz specifically.