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E-mail: Spam, Scams and Phishing Attacks

If you think it might be spam, it probably is!

CIT offers three tiers of e-mail protection for faculty and staff. At the top tier, all incoming mail must pass through the Barracuda spam firewall. The firewall currently blocks about 80% of incoming mail. The second tier allows individuals to access the Barracuda firewall and manage spam filtering on their own account. At the third tier, individuals can use the Junk Mail Handling settings within GroupWise. We do not recommend using the Block List function in GroupWise. If an individual is not personally configuring Barracuda or GroupWise Junk Mail Handling, spam is still being rejected at the first tier by the Barracuda firewall. You are not required to use these tools, but they are available.

Unfortunately, we cannot guarantee that all spam, scams, and phishing attempts will be blocked. There must be a balance between allowing legitimate traffic through the firewall and blocking spam. Sometimes, we are able to target and block specific phishing attacks, but since the sender’s e-mail address and the content within the message fluctuate, some messages will get through.

When should I contact the HelpDesk?
What should I do if I responded to a phishing attack?

What can I do if I am unsure whether an e-mail is legtimate?
E-mails that appear to be from the CIT or the HelpDesk
More information from Cyber Security Month

 

When should I contact the HelpDesk?

You do not need to contact the HelpDesk or forward e-mails that contain spam/junk. 

  • Advertisements
  • Requests for a response such as “I came across your profile and really want to chat.”
  • Bounce messages for e-mails that you did not send
  • Random or unsolicited job offers
  • Messages that inform you that you have won a lottery or are inheriting a large sum from overseas
  • Messages asking you to click on external links

You may forward the HelpDesk e-mails that contain a phishing attack by explicitly asking you to respond with the following information:

  • Username and password
  • Social Security number
  • Account number

What should I do if I responded to a phishing attack?

  • Contact the company who was targeted and inform them that you think you've fallen for a phishing scheme. If you still have the e-mail or web page used, report that to the company as well (forward the e-mail as an attachment so that all of the data is included).
  • If you've given out your bank account number or credit card, report the incident to your bank or Credit Card Company and get the account closed. The sooner they know, the better they can protect you.
  • Contact the credit bureaus and have them place a fraud alert on your account. This informs potential creditors they must take extra precaution when issuing credit in your name.
  • Change any passwords associated with the phishing attack and any passwords that are the same.
  • Visit the FTC's website on identity theft for more information.


What can I do if I am unsure whether an e-mail is legitimate?

If you receive suspicious messages regarding any non-CIT account, the best course of action is to access your account directly and double-check the information. For example, if you receive a message that claims to be from PayPal, do not respond to that message or click a link in that message, but go directly to www.paypal.com, log in, and see if there are any alerts or notices available. Likewise, if the message claims to be from your bank, log directly into your bank account by visiting their web site and see if there are any notices or alerts. You can also call the company directly using a number from their web site or phone book, but not the one supplied in the e-mail.

E-mails that appear to be from CIT or the HelpDesk

Occasionally you may receive spam or phishing attacks that appear to be from CIT. We will never ask you to provide your login information via e-mail or require you to provide any account numbers or a full social security number. Even if the e-mail is from the calvin.edu domain, if it is asking you to respond with log in information or personal information, it is not legitimate and did not come from CIT.

Legitimate e-mail communications from the HelpDesk:

  • Your Calvin passphrase expires once a year (or 90 days for employees working with credit card processing). You will receive notices from CIT as the expiration date draws near. You are not required to respond to these messages and can change your passphrase at www.calvin.edu/it.
  • When you contact the HelpDesk, you will receive automated e-mails regarding the status of a work order. These e-mails are from the address heat@calvin.edu and always contain a valid work order number. These e-mails notify you of when a work order has been opened or closed, or if more information is needed and do not require a direct response.
  • The HelpDesk sends important alerts regarding service outages from cit-alert@calvin.edu.
  • Any valid communication from the HelpDesk address, helpdesk@calvin.edu, will always be signed with the technician’s name followed by CIT HelpDesk and a formal signature, including the HelpDesk’s contact information.
  • CIT will post announcements to Calvin-Students and Calvin-News from the address cit-notify@calvin.edu and the heading of the message will begin with “CIT."

More Information:

Phishing Attacks

E-mail and Personally Identifiable Information