It is critical that you review emails for authenticity directly upon receiving them. Questionable emails, such as those appearing to be part of a spam or phishing attack, should be reported for review. You have the ability to report spam and phishing emails directly from your email client. For steps on how to report spam and phishing emails, please review KB0012109 ("How do I report spam and phishing emails?") in the "Related Articles" section below.
We will highlight 7 major ways of reviewing emails to determine if they may be phishing related. These 7 methods of reviewing emails for authenticity are listed below:
Suspicious Links and/or Email Addresses
If an email contains suspicious links and/or email addresses, ensure that you review them prior to responding and/or clicking the link(s). It is recommended that you only follow links that direct to secure locations.
Phishing attempts are usually sent in mass; therefore, emails are unlikely to be personalized. Greetings will often say "Dear Customer" or another generalized greeting. Since this is not always the case, you should use this method in conjunction with the other methods to the verify authenticity.
Incorrect Grammar and Misspellings
Phishing attempts regularly contain grammatical and spelling errors. It is recommended that you review all emails in their entirety for these issues. If an email is supposedly from another employee and/or student at the University, incorrect grammar and misspellings are unlikely to be present.
Urgent and Threatening Language
Phishing attempts often utilize urgency and threatening language to convince recipients to give up their personal information (e.g., credit card information). You should question the authenticity of an email if the sender demands information with threats and/or requests an urgent response that is not within your job scope.
Password and Credential Requests
If you receive an email requesting your login credentials (username or password) for any of your accounts, you should automatically question the authenticity of the request. The University would never request this information from you via email. To avoid an account takeover, automatically report these requests. For steps on how to report spam and phishing emails, please review KB0012109 ("How do I report spam and phishing emails?") in the "Related Articles" section below.
Hyperlinks with Inconsistent Paths
It is not recommended that you click on hyperlinks in emails that you are unable to verify as safe. You can assess a URL's path by hovering over the link in Outlook. If the URL is different from its actual path, this could indicate a deceitful hyperlink.
Sender Email Address Inconsistent with University Email
If another individual at the University sends you an email, you should expect the email to be sent from an @uky.edu or @email.uky.edu domain (unless sent from a personal email account). It is recommended that you always check the email address of email senders to verify authenticity.