"Phishing" Scams

Email scams circulating through USAO
* originally posted on November 4th, 2005 *

Lately, just about everyone has been getting a ridiculous amount of fraudulent emails that are supposedly from all sorts of well-known institutions such as eBay, Bank of Oklahoma, Wells Fargo, PayPal etc. I even got one from the CIA!! Such fraudulent emails are known as “Phishing”scams. What makes the phishing emails fraudulent in nature is that they always try to extract personal information from the receiver, for wrongful purposes. The real institutions/organizations would never try to extract such information through email. 

                Of course, these organizations themselves are not to blame but make no mistake; any such emails with the above criteria ARE fake, and are the work of subversive groups or individuals with malicious intent. It sounds melodramatic but this is exactly how people become the victims of identity theft. 

                This email hoax phenomenon is nothing new so most if not all of you probably disregard such fake emails without even opening them but lately these fraudulent emails can look extremely convincing, and are cleverly disguised to look like they’re from the real deal. Most of these fraudulent emails will even have the actual name of the well-known and trusted institution in the sender’s email address to make them look even more convincing. That is nothing more than a clever email trick that is used to make it look like the sender’s email address is legitimate. For someone that knows how to do it, it is very easy to change the sender’s email address in an outgoing email. BUT, the good news is that it is just as easy to spot the fake email address as well (to someone who knows how to do it!).

The bottom line is that these emails are FAKE. Please DO NOT OPEN ANY LINKS INSIDE THEM and never submit any personal information back to them through email. If you are unsure about the validity of an email you’ve received, then at the very least you can forward it on to one of the staff in Information Services and we will investigate it for you. Or you can always do some Googling on the internet as I did and find the genuine website for the institution that you received the email from. Almost always, I’ve found that the genuine websites will have information about steps you can take to spot fake emails that use their good name. The genuine websites will also have an email address that you can forward any suspicious and fake emails to.

Here are email-reporting webpage links for some of the very well known and popular companies/organizations/institutions whose fraudulent emails have been floating most amongst USAO email users lately: 

Bank of Oklahoma

Email hoax information:


Report fraudulent emails to:



Bank of America
Email hoax information:
Report Fraudulent emails to:


Wells Fargo

Email hoax information:


Report fraudulent emails to:


Email hoax information:
Report fraudulent emails to:

Email hoax information:
Report fraudulent emails to:


Email hoax information:


Report fraudulent emails to:




Email hoax information:


Report fraudulent emails to:


All I had to do was some simple, quick-and-easy Googling and I found these links. You can do the same yourself in the future for any suspicious emails from other places.


More information about "Phishing":

Phishing explained