Phishing logo, envelope with a fish hook


What Is Phishing?

Phishing is when a criminal uses emails, web forms, and viruses to:

  1. Trick you into revealing your password or other personal information.
  2. Trick you into installing a virus.

These criminals may be trying to commit:

  1. Fraud, such as in job scams, identity theft, or credit card fraud.
  2. Extortion, such as with ransomware or blackmail.
  3. Data theft, such as for selling personal information on the dark web.
  4. Computer hacking, such accessing the Mount’s or your personal computers.

So, it is very important to know how to spot phishing.

The Red Flags of Phishing Emails

Common traits of phishing emails include:

  1. Poorly written: Spelling, grammatical, or capitalization errors.
  2. Unfamiliar email address.
  3. Threatening, urgent, with time limits or deadlines.
  4. Contain links to websites with unfamiliar or strange URLs (web addresses).
  5. Asks for personal information.
  6. Asks you to confirm or validate your account.
  7. May have attachments.
  8. You did not initiate the communication.
  9. Too good to be true.
  10. Just doesn’t look right.

For more about these red flags click here.

Please see these examples of phishing emails for some suggestions on what to look for.

Phishing Web Forms

The links in phishing emails sometimes link to fake web forms, and they may look like legitimate forms.

Check the URL of any web form you use to make sure it:

  1. Starts https:// instead of http://.
  2. Links to website you trust, such as or

You can view some example phishing login forms here.

What To Do If Phished?

If you realize that you have replied to a phishing email or that you have clicked on a link that installed a virus, software, browser plugin or extension:

  1. Please change your password immediately, and
  2. Let the IT&S Help Desk know so we can check your account for unusual activity.

Not Sure If It’s Phishing?

If you are unsure whether an email is phishing or legitimate, just forward it to and IT&S can review it for you.