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Identifying Spam/Spoof E-Mails

Unfortunately, there is no single way to detect a spoof e-mail.  However, there are a few signs that indicate the e-mail may not be genuine: 

  • Request for personal information
    A key indicator of whether an e-mail is a spoof is if it asks you for personal information.  Aston University will NEVER ask you to enter sensitive personal information such as user ID or password by completing a form within an e-mail or in an attachment.  If you receive an e-mail requesting this information it is a spoof e-mail.
Screen Grab 1 - Spoof Email
  • Sender's e-mail address
    A spoof e-mail may include a fake e-mail address in the "From" line.  A good indicator that it is a spoof is if the apparently corporate e-mail is sent from a personal address using a public e-mail provider (eg, From: joebloggs@gmail.com).  If you receive an e-mail that looks like it’s from the University but has a personal address in the “From” line (eg, Yahoo, Hotmail, Google mail) then it may be a spoof e-mail.
Screen Grab 2 - Spoof Email
  • To try and convince you that the e-mail is genuine, the “From” line may also contain some text saying ‘On Behalf of Aston University.’  This text, however, is editable and can be altered by a fraudster to say anything they want.  If you receive an e-mail claiming to be from the University and includes an ‘On Behalf of’ statement, the simplest thing is to check the e-mail address of the sender.  If it is a personal address using a public e-mail provider then it could be a spoof e-mail.
Screen Grab 3 - Spoof Email

What do I do if I think I have received a spam/spoof e-mail?

If you think you have received a spam or spoof e-mail we recommend that you DELETE IT.  This action is simple and fast.  DO NOT reply to the e-mail or click on any of the links. 

If you receive a spoof e-mail claiming to be from the University inform the ISA Helpdesk immediately.

Employable Graduates; Exploitable Research