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E-mail and Spam

Topics covered on this page

What is SPAM?
SPAM and Identity Theft
What is Hamilton doing about SPAM?
What do I need to do?

 

What is SPAM?

Unsolicited "junk" e-mail sent to large numbers of people to promote products or services. The majority of spam is simply advertising. Some spam, however, is highly suspicious in nature and can expose users to threats such as viruses, spyware, and identity theft.

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SPAM and Identity Theft

Spam is becoming an increasingly popular vehicle for scam artists to commit identity theft by tricking the recipients into supplying personal information such as credit card numbers or online passwords. This type of spam is called "Phishing."

Phishing attacks work by the scam artist sending 'spoofed' e-mail messages that appear to come from an online company that you do business with such as a bank, credit company, online payment service, E-bay, ISP, etc.; businesses that require users to have a personal information for their accounts. The e-mail message will ask you to verify or update your account details by replying to the message, entering the information in a pop-up window, or following a link in the message.

The fraudulent messages will often contain the company logo and official-looking formatting that mirrors formatting on the company's real website. If the message contains a link, that link usually points to a fake website that also looks like the company's real website. These messages will often have a sense of urgency and somewhat threatening tone, saying that your account will be suspended or deleted if you do not verify/update within a short timeframe.

How to protect yourself:

  • Never respond to e-mail messages that request personal information. Legitimate companies will never ask for personal information over e-mail. When they do correspond with customers via e-mail, they generally send personalized messages that refer to you by your full name, whereas phishers do not. Even if you think the e-mail may be legitimate, do not respond to it. Contact the company directly.
  • Never click on a link in an unsolicited e-mail message.
    Phishers will often include links to webpages that look authentic with addresses that also look authentic. There are several ways that this can be faked. If you want to log into your online account, go to the company's website by typing its address into the address bar and log in directly.

  • Never e-mail personal or financial information. E-mail is not a secure medium for transmitting sensitive information. If you initiate a transaction and want to provide personal and/or financial information through an organization's website, look for indicators that the site is secure, like a lock in the browser's status bar or a URL that begins with https:// (note the 's' for 'secure' in 'https'). Unfortunately, no indicator is foolproof; some phishers have forged security icons.
  • Report phishing attempts. If you receive an e-mail that has any of the following above, select the e-mail and click the Report Spam icon. For more information on removing spam forever from your account, please click here: http://mail.google.com/support/bin/answer.py?answer=6602

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What is Hamilton doing about SPAM?

Hamilton's mail server is now powered by Google which has an automated spam filter. Although HillConnect will pick up most phishing attempts and remove them from your inbox, you may still receive spam e-mails. You can easily remove these from your inbox by clicking the Report Spam icon. The more spam e-mails you mark as spam, the better job Google's system can do in removing future spam e-mails from your inbox. Click the links below for more information from Google below

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What do I need to do?

Follow the guidelines listed above on how to protect yourself from identity theft.

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