Avoid phishing scams

Avoid phishing scams

Phishing is a criminal's attempt to swindle Internet users into revealing their personal information online. Phishers will try to get you to reveal your credit card and bank account numbers, usernames and passwords, or even your Social Security number.

Phishing often takes the form of an email asking you to verify or provide information. It may ask you to reply with the requested information, or it may link to a fake site that resembles a reputable one (e.g., Gmail, Yahoo, Facebook). Providing personal information in a reply email or through a fake Web site could put your accounts at risk for fraudulent activity or could make you a victim of identity theft.

If you encounter a phishing attempt or any other computer security threat (e.g., breaches, thefts, spam), you are highly encouraged to report the computer security incident immediately.


Spear phishing attacks are email scams tailored for a group of people with something in common. In UD's case, criminals send emails with UD-specific terminology, logos, names, and information to trick users into believing they are legitimate emails. Scammers do such a good job making emails look “individualized” or tailored to you that your spam filter may miss it-- leading you to click a malicious link or to surrender confidential information.

Be vigilant. If you receive email that looks suspicious or seems too good to be true, don’t click any links contained in the message.

Report spear phishing attempts to the IT Support Center using the Report a Phishing Scam page.

Follow the guidelines below to avoid phishing schemes.

Email Guidelines

Web Guidelines

More information

Deter. Detect. Defend. Avoid ID Theft (FTC)
If you've been scammed, visit the FTC's page on identity theft. It provides steps to take to recover from identity theft and resources to learn more information.

Avoid Phishing Scams (Video)
Shows how to identify phishing emails and fake links.

Annotated Phishing Samples
We annotated some phishing messages received at UD over the past several years. We've also started a blog that lists current phishing scams that have landed in UD inboxes.

Phishing (OnGuard Online)
Provides comprehensive ways to identify and avoid phishing schemes. Also provides information to report phishing messages.

How to recognize phishing emails or links (Microsoft)
Tips to identify fake emails and avoid links that may send you to fake Web sites.

Identity Theft (Delaware Department of Justice - Attorney General's Office)
Follow these steps to avoid becoming a victim of identity theft, which could result from falling victim to a phishing scheme.