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Saturday, October 22, 2016

Phishing emails asking for personal information

Some spammers send fraudulent mass-emails designed to collect personal information or data, called 'spoofing' or 'password phishing.'
Here are a few ways by which you might recognize these messages:
  • They ask you to provide your user-name and email account password or other personal information (e.g. Social Security number, bank account number, PIN number, credit card information, mother's maiden name, or birthday). Even if they appear to be from a legitimate source, or contain an “official-looking” webpage, be careful. Spammers often ask for this information in an attempt to steal your Gmail account information, your money, your credit card information, or your identity.
  • You might see a warning from Google email when you open one of these emails. These phishing alerts operate automatically, much like spam filtering. Google email's spam filters automatically divert emails that are suspected of being unwanted messages into 'Spam'. Similarly, Gmail's phishing alerts automatically display warnings with messages we suspect are phishing attacks so you know to exercise caution before providing any of your personal information.
You should always be very careful of any message that asks for your personal information, or emails, that refer you to a webpage asking for personal information. One thing to be sure of: Google or Gmail will never ask you to provide this information in an email; if the message asking for it claims to be from us, don't believe it.
Here's what you can do to protect Gmail account and stop fraudsters:

  • Check the email address of the sender of the emails by hovering your mouse cursor over the sender name and verifying that it matches the sender name.
  • Check whether the email was authenticated by the sending domain. Open the email and click on the drop-down arrow below the sender's name. Make sure the domain you see next to the 'mailed-by' or 'signed-by' lines matches the sender's Gmail address. For more information on email authentication procedure, please visit our Email Authentication article.
  • Make sure the URL of the domain on the given web page is correct, and click on any images and links to verify that you are redirected to proper web pages within the website. For example, the Gmail URL is mail.google.com/ or, for even more security, mail.google.com/. Although some web links may appear to contain 'gmail.com,' you may be redirected to another site after entering such addresses into your web browser.
  • Always look for the closed lock icon in the email status bar at the bottom of your web browser window whenever you enter any private or legal information, including your account password.
  • Check the emails headers. The “From” field is easily manipulated to show a false sender name. Learn how to view headers.
  • If you're still unclear, contact the organization from which the email appears to be sent. Don't use the reply address in the email, since it can be forged. Instead, visit the official site of the organization in question, and find a different email contact address.
  • If you enter your Gmail account or personal information as the result of a spoof or phishing emails, take action quickly. Send a copy of the emails header and the entire text of the emails according to the Federal Trade Commission at spam@uce.gov. If you entered credit card or bank account information, contact your financial bank or organization. If you think you may be the victim of identity theft, go for local police help.
  • Google email doesn't send unsolicited mass emails asking for account passwords or personal information. If you think your Gmail address has been compromised or taken over, please click here so Google can help resolve the issue as quickly as possible or you can contact 866-324-3042 for Gmail customer service.
* If our system flags a email as phishing, but you've validated the source from which the message originated, click the down arrow next to Reply at the top-right corner of the message pane, and select Report Not Phishing to let us know the email is legitimate. And if you receive a email that our phishing detection system doesn't pick up on, click Report Phishing to send a copy of the email to the Gmail Team.