On July 12, many members of Western Illinois University received a phishing email scam (see screenshots below). The email message linked to a fraudulent website that impersonated WIU’s legitimate Central Sign-On web page. This fraudulent website has since been removed, but for a period of time, it functioned and some users may have provided their username and password to a malicious third-party.
If you received this or any other phishing message
- Report it as phishing to Google so they can block future copies of the message from being delivered to the University.
- Do not reply to to message or click on any links within the phishing email message.
If you clicked on the link and submitted your username/password
- Immediately change your ECom password in Guava. Your account could be compromised and action needs to be taken immediately to protect your data.
- Notify the uTech Support Center at (309) 298-2704 or email@example.com if you need assistance or have additional concerns.
Common signs often found in phishing email messages
The phishing email had many giveaways that indicated it was not legitimate, as did the website that the phishing email linked to. Below are screenshots where we have pointed out several indicators that the email message and web page were not legitimate:
- Poor spelling and bad grammar. Cybercriminals are not known for their grammar and spelling. Professional companies or organizations usually have a staff of copy editors that will not allow a mass email like this to go out to its users. If you notice mistakes in an email, it might be a scam. For more information, see ‘Email and web scams: How to help protect yourself’.
- Beware of links in email. If you see a link in a suspicious email message, don’t click on it. Rest your mouse (but don’t click) on the link to see if the address matches the link that was typed in the message.
- Threats. Have you ever received a threat that your account would be closed if you didn’t respond to an email message? The email message shown above is an example of the same trick. Cybercriminals often use threats that your security has been compromised. For more information, see ‘Watch out for fake alerts’.
- Spoofing popular websites or companies. Scam artists use graphics in email that appear to be connected to legitimate websites but actually take you to phony scam sites or legitimate-looking pop-up windows. For more information, see ‘Avoid scams that use the Microsoft name fraudulently’. Cybercriminals also use web addresses that resemble the names of well-known companies but are slightly altered. For more information, see ‘Protect yourself from cybersquatting and fake web addresses’.
Please be constantly aware of these social engineering and phishing scams. They are not always received via email, but include telephone calls, use of social media, and other attack avenues.