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Email security

Submitted by cclorey on Tue, 12/01/2015 - 9:42am

Protect yourself online

Protect your personal information by learning more about phishing and how to stay safe online. Please delete and do not respond to any suspicious emails. If you receive any emails that appear to be suspicious or you are unsure, please contact the IT Support Centre at 220-5555 or forward the message as an attachment to

Frequently asked questions

Submitted by cclorey on Tue, 12/01/2015 - 9:48am

What is spam?

Spam is irrelevant, inappropriate and unsolicited messages sent to a large number of users, typically via email. It is often considered to be junk mail.

What is phishing?

Phishing is the act of deceiving an email user in order to extract passwords or other sensitive information by posing as a legitimate company or even as our own university. The attempt of the message is to appear to be from an authentic source so that the victim will either respond directly, or will open a link or attachment to a fake website.

What is a virus?

A computer virus is a piece of code planted illegally in a computer program which then copies itself and inserts them into other programs. This is often to damage or shut down a system or network. 

How can I tell if an email is suspicious?

First and foremost, if you suspect an email is a scam – it probably is. Suspicious emails often:

  • Contain links asking you to provide credentials, such as your username and passwords, credit card numbers or personal information
  • Convey a sense of urgency (act now or something bad will happen)
  • Use awkward or irregular language and typos
  • Link to an unexpected or disconnected website (hover your mouse over a link to check the destination site name)
  • Contain attachments – if you receive an email with an attachment from someone you do not know, or an unexpected attachment from someone you do know – do not open it before confirming the legitimacy.  

I just received a suspicious email, now what?

Report the email by contacting the IT Support Centre at 220-5555 or forwarding the message as an attachment to After reporting the suspicious email, please delete and do not respond.

Will IT ever ask for my username and password via email or phone?

No. The University of Calgary will never directly ask you for any personal information or passwords. Anyone who asks for any personal information, by phone or email, claiming to be IT, is phishing for your information.

What is IT doing about email phishing, scams and hoaxes?

IT uses spam blocking technology which identifies and blocks 85-90% of all inbound email messages. This is more than 99% of the spam directed at University of Calgary faculty and staff. Unfortunately, even with the best spam blocking technology, some spam and phishing attacks will get through to your inbox. The only way to stop a well made phishing attack is to provide the user on the receiving end with tools to identify the hoax.

Will University of Calgary email correspondence ever include links?

The University of Calgary will never request any personal information including usernames and passwords through email through links or otherwise. Emails may contain links however, where possible, the university will provide paths describing how to navigate to content or login pages rather than links. When embedding a link is required, the university will never use the terminology “click here.”

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Note: we are unable to reset your password via chat – reset online or by calling us at 403-220-5555.

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