Spoofing, Spamming and Phishing

Safe EmailWhat is email spoofing?

Email spoofing is when the header (or the “FROM” line) of an email is changed to look like it came from somewhere other than the actual source for the purpose of spreading SPAM and data phishing. This is an illegal tactic used to coerce recipients into opening illegitimate email. For example, an email from a person you actually know seems like a legitmate source and therefore has the perception of being important and/or genuine communication.

Help, I have been notified that my email has been “Spoofed”! Does this mean my email has been hacked?

Email spoofing doesn’t always mean your email has been hacked. Although, it is a good idea to run anti-virus and change your password. The easiest way to tell if you have been hacked, instead of merely spoofed, is checking your “Sent” email folder. If your sent email folder contains emails that you have not sent, it’s a solid guess that you have been hacked. You should immediately change your password(s) and notify recipients of the hacking–in hopes of keeping recipients from opening illegitimate email and make them aware of possible phishing attempts.

How can I protect myself from being “Spoofed” or SPAMMED?

Use spam filters. If a message goes to your “Junk Mail” box, even if it comes from someone you know, inspect the email. Most email clients will allow you to hover over the name in the header and enable to you inspect the email address to check the authenticity of the recipient’s address. Warning, sometimes the spoofed email address may appear to be similar to a legitimate web address. If in doubt, pull up a web browser and physically type in the address used on the suspicious email. If the web site doesn’t look legitimate, it is most likely an attempt to phish your information. IMPORTANT: Never click on a suspicious link or attachment, especially if you are unsure of the email’s authenticity.

What are “Phishing emails”?

Phishing emails are messages sent with the intention of scamming you or your email contacts out of personal information (such as bank account numbers or credit cards). Sometimes Phishing emails are used to harvest email addresses to utilize for future “Spoof” attempts. So, watch out for those email forwards that have multiple recipients.

How can I recover from “Phishing”?

Phishing and Spoofing are both illegal. If you have recieved SPAM or Phishing emails, visit the Federal Trade Commission website and file a complaint: https://www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov/ or you can forward your email to spam@uce.gov.

The internet belongs to all of us; being aware of your own internet use and reporting nefarious actions to the FTC is the best way we can police it.