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Dealing with Suspicious E-mail

The University of Missouri is a huge target for spam with the MU mail servers receiving over one million spam messages every week. The automated spam filters block most of this or we would each be receiving hundreds of spam messages every day. The filters aren’t perfect and inevitably at least a few sneak through the system every week. With a variety of different scams getting through to at least a few different people every week we don’t normally send out specific warnings as people quickly become numb to a barrage of warning emails week after week.

Please just use caution anytime you open an email and never click on an image or link in an email if you have any doubts. Feel free to contact MUHESIT@missouri.edu if you ever have questions. You can also just forward obvious scams directly to abuse@missouri.edu Please note that if you do forward anything to this account, the email team doesn’t have the resources to respond directly to each of items sent to this ‘abuse’ account. But, if enough similar messages show up there in a short span of time it may help them identify patterns that they can use to improve the spam filtering system. Here are some warning signs to look for:

  • Poor grammar and broken English often indicate the message was fabricated by an overseas hacker
  • Anything with a link asking you for money (or promising you money) is always suspicious
  • Anything asking you to confirm or reestablish banking credentials, account passwords, etc. merely by clicking on a link should cause some caution
  • Misuse of University of Missouri specific phrases or logos that indicate a lack of familiarity yet claiming to be official MU communication
  • Links that go somewhere other than where they claim to. You can check this by HOVERING over a link (NEVER click). If you hover for a few seconds a bubble should pop-up near the link showing you the actual address where that link would take you if you clicked on it. If the email claims to be official University communication, but the link destination is not something.missouri.edu or something.umsystem.edu then it is a probably a scam. If the email claims to be from a common commercial website (like Amazon or Expedia) and the link address actually goes to an address other than something.com then it is probably a scam directing you to a fake overseas website.