By Vanessa Baca, IT Communication Specialist

E-mail hoaxes, phishing and spam attempts are a constant nuisance. Universities, companies and other organizations nationwide are frequently subject to mass e-mail hoaxes, and UNM is no different. The potential for computer security breaches is always there, and it is everyone's responsibility to keep personal information secure. Information Technologies offers some tips on handling e-mail hoaxes, spam and phishing attempts.

  • Don't trust e-mail. E-mails asking for money or personal information are usually scams or phishing attempts. At UNM, we never ask for any sort of personal information through e-mail, so beware of false UNM messages asking you to e-mail or click a link and change your password.

  • Links in e-mails are not always what they seem. It's better to open another browser window and type in a Web address rather than click the link from e-mail. Clicking embedded links often loads malware or spyware onto a computer. The link can also take you to a false site designed to steal personal information.

  • Know who is e-mailing you. If an e-mail is from someone you don't know, simply delete it. If you open a message and there is an attachment, save the attachment in your computer and use your anti-virus software to scan it before opening.

  • If you receive a spam or phishing e-mail in a UNM e-mail account, forward the message as an attachment to This helps IT keep its spam filters up-to-date and helps protect you.

It is worth remembering that, today, more of our personal information than we would like is accessible online by hackers and thieves. IT filters out millions of spam e-mail messages each day, but some do get through the security net. It is important for everyone to be aware of the types of phishing scams and false e-mail communications sent each day.

For questions about computer security, contact IT Security and Quality Assurance at