Spam and phishing emails

The University receives a lot of phishing emails and everyone is a potential target. The best defence against phishing is to raise awareness so everyone knows how to spot the signs of a scam.

What are spam and phishing emails?

  • Spam: unsolicited, junk email messages, usually sent to large numbers of people, for the purposes of advertising, phishing, spreading viruses, etc.
  • Phishing: a scam whereby cyber criminals use fake email messages that claim or appear to be from an organisation or person that you may trust, which often ask you to verify personal or account details by clicking a link.

How to stay safe

Some email scams can be hard to spot, but there are some common signs to look out for and things you can do to protect yourself.

  1. Don't be tempted to 'click this link' - it may be going to a fake website that wants to capture your details or get you to download something. Always hover your mouse over the link to reveal the actual web address. If it looks suspicious, don’t click it.
  2. Never give out your personal information - no legitimate organisation will ask for your password.
  3. Don't open attachments from people you don't know or if you're not expecting them - not even if it seems to be from your bank, the government, or a reputable company. Attachments may contain viruses that infect your computer.
  4. Spelling mistakes and poor grammar - bad spelling, grammar and unfamiliar language are signs of a scan email as it's unlikely genuine emails will contain many mistakes.
  5. Urgent warnings - threats and urgent warnings like 'your account is about to expire - act now' are intended to cause panic so you act quickly without thinking.

Report a suspect email

If you receive a suspicious email, stay calm. Don’t reply or click any links. Simply report it and then delete it.

Report suspect emails to spamreport@essex.ac.uk by forwarding as an attachment. Here's how:

  • In Outlook, open the suspect email and on the Message tab click MoreForward as Attachment.
  • In Webmail, create a new email and then drag the suspect email from the list of emails in your inbox into the new email.

If the email is malicious, we can take action to prevent others from falling victim to the scam.

Need help?
Need help?
IT Helpdesk
Telephone: 2345 (Colchester) 8341 (Southend)