Many of us have heard of and even seen the emails claiming that you have won some internet lottery, that some distant relative living in a foreign land bequeathed you massive amounts of money, or even the ones asking for your help in smuggling funds out of a warring nation. Usually the spelling is bad, the wording is broken and they tend to come from a suspicious email address. It is easy to spot them as scams.

However these are not the only scams out there looking to steal your identity. Phony emails claiming to be from your school, your job, your bank, your credit card company, or other places you conduct business with are beginning to look more and more authentic. Spotting possible scams is becoming more difficult as the scammers up their game so it is very important to keep a vigilant eye out.

Unfortunately, CSUMB is not exempt from these attempts to gleen personal information. Official communications from the university will always come from a "@csumb.edu" email address. If you receive emails from the univeristy that are NOT from a csumb.edu email address DO NOT CLICK on any links within that email and definitely do not provide them with any personal information by responding. A good rule to follow if you get an unexpected email from your school, job, bank, eBay, PayPal, or other entity that you do online business with is this: Do not click on any links in that email. Instead use your web browser and log into your account directly by typing in the URL or address of the web page. This extra step can save you from being routed to a page that looks authentic but is actually capturing your information for nefarious purposes.

Also be sure to install antivirus software on your personal computers and laptops and be sure to keep the virus definitions up to date. Set your virus software to update the definitions often and scan your computer often. Keeping your computer virus-free not only enhances it's performance but it will add an extra layer of protection when it comes to identity theft since some viruses and trojan horses can steal personal information or log keystrokes.

Finally- listen to your gut instinct and be a little suspicious- it may save you from having your identity stolen. Just follow this credo: If in doubt, check it out (by phoning the company). Taking the few extra seconds to manually log into your account rather than following links sent in email, or even calling the company in question could save you the hassle and expense of a stolen identity. If you have any questions about phishing scams please feel free to call the HelpDesk at 831-582-4357.