Montana State University

MSU IT Center

Renne Library Commons
P.O. Box 173240
Bozeman, MT 59717-3240
406-994-1777 | helpdesk@montana.edu

Chief Information Officer

Jerry Sheehan
jsheehan@montana.edu

Chief Security Officer

Rich Shattuck
rich@montana.edu

Tip of the Month: Don't Get Caught by a Phishing Scam

Security Tip of the Month graphic

Don't Get Hooked!

  • Phishing scams are used by fraudsters and try to trick you into divulging your personal information such as usernames, passwords, credit card numbers or bank account information.  They often come in the form of emails and can appear to be legitimate.  Below are several tips to help you avoid falling victim to one of these scams.

Delete Suspicious Emails!

  • Any correspondence that asks for information such as your username, password, financial information, etc. is likely a scam. Legitimate organizations will never request this information.

Never Click Links!

  • If an email asks you to click a link to bring you to their website, leave it alone!  Such links can send you to a place that you don’t intend to go, even if the link appears legitimate.  Often, the link will send you to a website that may appear to be official, but will install malicious software onto your computer and steal any information that you enter.  If you think that the email might be legitimate and that you do need to get in touch with the institution, either call them at a phone number that you know belongs to them (don’t trust phone numbers provided in the email) or close the email, open your web browser, and type in the URL that you know belongs to them.  This is the only way to ensure you end up at the correct location.

Don't Open Attachments!

  • Never open an email attachment unless you know who sent it and are sure that they intended to send it. Attachments often contain software that will try to harm your computer or steal your information. In addition always run Antivirus software just in case.

What to do if you fall victim?

  • If you believe that you may have given your information away to a phishing scam contact the organization the information was with immediately and follow their instructions. Often these will involve changing passwords and possibly account information as soon as possible. If the information was connected to your personal information (name, address, SSN) or your financial information (credit card number, bank account information), in addition to contacting the institution, visit www.idtheft.gov for advice on how to monitor for and prevent ID theft.