Technical Support Spam and Fraud FAQ
The best advice is “if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.” You can learn to recognize suspicious emails easily if you keep in mind that legitimate businesses will never ask you to provide private information via email. If you receive an email, even from a company that you regularly do business with, that asks for any personal or account information, chances are it is not a legitimate email. If you are in doubt, call the company and speak to a representative.
Take a look at the sample email below. Note that although the email appears to come from a valid source, the following identifying characteristics clearly show that it’s part of an email scam:
- A company logo stolen from the legitimate business.
- A clickable link that appears to be credible, but actually takes you to the counterfeit Web site.
- In the email program’s status bar, notice the address of the link (http://126.96.36.199/mytocc/imp/…/) does not match where it should legitimately go (http://www.ebay.com/etc. …).
More information on phishing is available at:
Email fraud is similar to other kinds of mail or phone fraud. You may receive an email that looks like it is from a company that you do business with, but it is actually a spoofed email from someone pretending to represent that company. The email may ask you to verify account information or provide an updated account number. Other forms of email fraud include phishing, bogus offers of goods and services, an announcement that you’ve won a prize or sum of money, or a request to help someone in need.
Phishing is an unauthorized attempt to obtain your personal information. An email is sent to you, claiming to be from a place where you legitimately do business in an attempt to get you to volunteer personal information such as your Social Security number, credit card information, or password. Typically, these bogus emails link you to a counterfeit Web site where you’re asked to enter account usernames, bank account numbers, and other personal identifiers. If you receive a suspicious email, do not open any attachments or click on any links.
Excelsior College will not ask your personal information such as credit card or Social Security numbers via email. If you have any question about the legitimacy of the email that appears to be coming from the College, please contact Technical Support.
Detailed information about phishing, ways to avoid email scams, and how to report them, are included on the Federal Trade Commission Web site: