Phishing and Spam

Phishing is a serious, persistent and evolving threat

Phishing is an attempt to acquire confidential information such as account passwords, identification numbers or credit card details by pretending to be a trusted entity in electronic communications including email, texting and instant messaging.  Phishing is dangerous and can lead to financial risk and identity theft.   At UNH, 3 to 5 different phishing emails are typically reported by community members, every day! 

Spam is a nuisance akin to junkmail sometimes used by legitimate businesses and organizations and is typically not a severe risk for the receiver. Spam from a UNH email account may indicate a user's account or computer has been compromised and should be reported.

Warning signs of phishing:

SENSITIVE INFORMATION:  Phishing asks you for sensitive information such as your account passwords, Social Security Number, credit card numbers, or UNH ID number.  Legitimate businesses and organizations do not request or provide sensitive information via email.

"CLICK HERE":  Phishing often presents links or attachments and urges you to click to respond, read information or view pictures.  In some cases, just clicking the link or attachment can infect your computer.

FALSE URGENCY:  Phishing makes threats such as termination of services if you don't respond immediately .  They want you to respond  before  you think! 

UNEXPECTED MESSAGE:   Be wary of emails you didn't expect to receive, even those that appear to come from a business you deal with or someone you know. 

COPY LEGITIMATE SOURCES:  Phishing pretends to be from a trusted source such as UNH, your bank or well-known delivery companies and may include recognizable logos, addresses or names.

ODD GRAMMAR:  Phishing may contain odd grammar, misspellings or unusual capitalization.  These emails often originate from regions where the writers are not familiar with English.   

What should you do?

If you believe you have received a phishing or spam email:

  • Do not respond or reply to the email in any way; replying shows that your email address is real and can lead to further attacks.

  • Don't click on any link in a suspicious email; just clicking a link can open your computer to attack from a virus or other malware.

  • Don't open or print any attachment to the email; attachments may contain malicious code which can take over your computer.

  • Delete an unverified suspicious email and purge from your 'Deleted' mail folder.

  • Verify a suspicious email by contacting the sender by phone; use a publicly available number, not any number contained in the email to make the call.  At UNH, you can also contact ISS or the IT Service Desk to validate messages.  If there's no way to verify the email, treat it as phishing.

Report suspected phishing emails to:

Report spam emails to:


Additional useful and detailed information on phishing:


Video:   View our not-so-serious phishing video:  

Don't Be A Phish  from  UNH IT Security  on  Vimeo .

Test your knowledge of phishing scams with this game provided by OnGuard Online:


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