Some Tips on Identifying and Avoiding Phishing Scams

— Written By Jeff Ware
en Español / em Português

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Clicking on the translation link activates a free translation service to convert the page to Spanish. As with any Internet translation, the conversion is not context-sensitive and may not translate the text to its original meaning. NC State Extension does not guarantee the accuracy of the translated text. Please note that some applications and/or services may not function as expected when translated.

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Image of phishing scams

We’ve had a few reports of users receiving phishing scams via both email and phone, so it’s good to be vigilant this time of year (all year, really, but especially around the holidays).

Here are a few tips to remember to help avoid falling prey to these types of scams:

  1. If you receive an email from someone you know asking for money or personal information, contact that person directly to confirm. For example, an agent recently received a message that appeared to come from their CED (although the email address wasn’t real) asking her to buy gift cards. Contacting the CED directly before any action was taken confirmed that it was indeed a scam.
  2. If you receive a notification asking you to confirm login credentials or to address a problem with an account (that you didn’t initiate), DO NOT click on any links in the email–go directly to the site referenced and log in there. Also, never download a file or open an attachment from an unsolicited email.
  3. Never give out personal information over the phone or electronically to someone you didn’t call or contact.
  4. Take a minute and really think about what is being asked of you in the message and from whom/where it came from. If it seems suspicious, it probably is.
  5. Phishing scams also aren’t limited to phone/email, either. We’ve had reports of people inquiring about things like office printers in person. No one except EIT will need your office printer/router/wireless information. If someone you do not know is asking for this information, please confirm with us before giving it out.

If you have any questions or would like assistance in identifying a potential phishing scam, please contact us by calling 919-513-7000 or emailing