What is spam?

Spam is an unsolicited "junk" e-mail sent to large numbers of people to promote legitimate products or services. There is nothing inherently illegal or dangerous about spam, but its persistence --  combined with its unsolicited nature -- makes it very annoying at best. 

What is phishing?

Phishing is a popular method for cybercriminals to steal personal information, such as credit card numbers or online passwords. The strategy behind a phishing attempt is to lure and hook you into providing sensitive information under false pretenses.

In a phishing attack, a scammer sends 'spoofed' e-mail that appears to come from a legitimate company that you might do business with: a bank, online payment service, E-bay, ISP, etc. 

These messages will often have a sense of urgency bordering on a threatening tone, claiming your account will be suspended or deleted if you take action within a short timeframe.

The e-mail message will ask you to verify or update your account details by replying to the message, entering personal information in a pop-up window, or following a hyperlink in the message. These hyperlinks can even point to a fake website that closely resembles the company's real website. 

How to protect yourself

  • Never respond to e-mail messages that request personal information. Legitimate companies will never  request personal information via e-mail. When they do correspond with customers via e-mail, they also send personalized messages that refer to you by your full name, whereas phishers will often not. Even if you think the e-mail is legitimate, do not respond to it. Contact the company directly instead.
  • 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. Instead, visit the webpage directly by typing its legitimate address (not any ones provided in the email) directly into your web browser's address bar.
  • Never e-mail personal or financial information. E-mail is not a secure medium for transmitting sensitive information. If you initiate a financial  transaction and want to provide personal and/or financial information through an organization's website, look for indicators that the site is secure, such as a padlock in the browser's status bar or a URL that begins with https://
  • Report phishing attempts. Select the e-mail and click the Report Spam icon. For more information on removing spam from your account, please click here.

What is Hamilton doing about phishing and spam?

Hamilton's mail server is powered by Google, which has an automated spam filter. Although HillConnect will detect most phishing attempts and remove them from your inbox, you may occasionally receive spam or phishing e-mails. You can easily remove these from your inbox by clicking the Report Spam icon. The more 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 for more information from Google:

What do I need to do?

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

Last updated: June 30, 2023

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