How to spot a Phishing email

This guide provides examples of Phishing emails so you know what to look for if you get something suspicious.  

Our Signature

This is our email signature for all emails from the IT Department.  If this is not included, then the email did not come from us.  Department personnel have something very similar with the phone numbers to call for support, email addresses, and the link to submit a support ticket    

Unbelievable Offers

If it sounds to good to be true, excludes experience, or unclear compensation.  However, the email address does not belong to the college. 

All of the email from TCC will be from  Again, there was no Signature with a name, college logo, or office and fax phone numbers.  

Sense of urgency

Creating a sense of urgency is a tactic to make you act without considering the consequences.  There is no signature, no college logo, and even our automated responses that we have in place has the phone numbers and support link for the IT Department and our TeamDynamix support portal,

Urgency with logos

By adding the logo this email looked convincing.  But again, Microsoft or O365 would not be contacting you about your account.  Your account is through the college and the email would come from the IT Department.


Sometimes there will be an attachment in the email and when you click on it, it will open a web page asking for credentials.  The log in is a Phishing attempt to obtain the user name and password for your account.


Ransomware is software that removes the ability for you to access your information or files.  The ransomware may hold your personal files hostage, keeping you from documents, photos, and financial information. Those files are still on your computer, but may be encrypted, making them unreadable.

Some Helpful Do's and Don'ts

  1. Do use security software. The college uses Sophos as our antivirus on our administrative computers.
  2. Do keep your security software up to date.  The IT Department keeps the Sophos up-to-date and will send them out to all of our systems on campus.
  3. Do update your operating system and other software. Software updates frequently include patches for newly discovered security vulnerabilities that could be exploited by ransomware attackers so when new patches come out for Windows, we get them out to the campus as soon as possible.  Please install updates when prompted.
  4. Don’t automatically open email attachments. Email is one of the main methods for delivering ransomware. Avoid opening emails and attachments from unfamiliar or untrusted sources.
  5. Do be wary of any email attachment that advises you to enable macros to view its content. Once enabled, macro malware can infect multiple files. Unless you are absolutely sure the email is genuine, from a trusted source, delete the email.
  6. Do back up important data to an external hard drive. Attackers can gain leverage over their victims by encrypting valuable files and making them inaccessible. If the victim has backup copies, the hacker no longer holds the upper hand. Backup files allow victims to restore their files once the infection has been cleaned up. We recommend that you back up your files to your OneDrive.
  7. Do use cloud services. This can help mitigate a ransomware infection, since many cloud services retain previous versions of files, allowing you to “roll back” to the unencrypted form. This is one of the great features of your OneDrive account.
  8. Don’t pay the ransom. You could be wondering, “But won’t I get my files back if I pay the ransom?” You might, but you might not. Sensing desperation, a cybercriminal could ask you to pay again and again, extorting money from you but never releasing your data.

If you see something, say something

Report any suspicious behavior to the TCC IT Help Desk.

Faculty & Staff: 253.460.HELP (4357) | |

Students: 253.566.5176 | |


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