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Identifying and Reporting Email Scams

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It’s important to be on guard when interacting with unexpected emails. Nearly everyone receives a number of spam emails per week, and they tend to get filtered out into our ‘Junk’ or ‘Other’ folders automatically. The emails we must be wary about are phishing attempts.

Phishing is a deceptive attack that attempts to get the target to give away sensitive data such as login or bank information, to spread malware, and more. The goal is to gain control of your account and spread emails to others that will fall into the trap. To protect yourself against phishers, you must know the key ways of identifying an attack.

Identifying phishing emails 

If you receive an email that looks suspicious, there are a few ways identify whether it is legitimate or a scam:

Check the sender. The display name of a user and their email address may not match. For example, if you get an email from the “Chancellor”, but the email address displays a Gmail account, this is most likely a scam email.

— NOTE: All emails from non-SIU accounts will say: “[EXTERNAL EMAIL ALERT]: Verify sender before opening links or attachments.” This does not mean that the email is malicious, but can be an indicator that the sender is not who they claim to be.

Verify links and attachments. Typically, phishing emails include a link or an attachment [PDF or word doc]. On a computer, hover your mouse over the link and it will view the original path. If you get an email from “SalukiTech” saying to change your password, but the link does lead to an website, it is likely a scam. Unexpected emails that only contain an attachment without any other text are likely malicious.

Look for improper spelling/grammar. Scam emails, especially long ones, can have many spelling and grammar issues. You may see odd spacing, random capital letters, or misplaced punctuation. This can be an indicator that a bot wrote or translated a message. Official SIU emails are always checked for proper spelling and grammar.

Message uses urgent/threatening language. If an email sounds threatening, like saying your account will be deleted if you do not respond right away, it is likely a spam email. Real password expiration and account deletion emails will have at least 30 days notice and will come from

References job offers/money. Random emails about applying for jobs that offer a set dollar amount per week are likely scams [emphasis on random]. Common scam job offer emails will also not explain what the job fully entails, such as needing an assistant without specification.

— NOTE: If you reply to a job offer email and they ask you to print a check, immediately cease contact. If you have given any bank information to the scammer, report it to your bank ASAP.

These are the common ways to identify scam emails. If you are unsure if the email is legitimate, contact SalukiTech and we will help you determine if it is real or fake.

Reporting phishing emails

Reporting phishing can now be done in Outlook. Here are brief instructions: 

  • Website:
    • Method 1: Right click on the email and look for Report > Report Phishing.
    • Method 2: Click the three horizontal dots in the upper right corner of the email above the timestamp and look for Report > Report Phishing.
  • Desktop Client:
    • Method 1: Click on the “Report Message” button in the upper right corner of the window. Select Phishing.
    • Method 2: Right click on the email and look for Report > Report Phishing.
  • Android app:
    • Tap the three vertical dots underneath the timestamp in the email (NOT in the blue bar). Tap the image that looks like an envelope on a fish hook.

Junk emails

Junk mail is different from phishing emails, and it does not have to be reported to the university. Junk can be business advertisements, newsletters, or anything that doesn’t seem malicious. 

From the Outlook website or desktop client, you can mark it as junk by right clicking the email from your inbox and selecting ‘mark as junk’. 

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For additional information, please visit either of the SIU Information Security websites below:

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