ID #1218

What is the difference between spam and phishing?

Spam is unsolicited e-mail, usually from someone trying to sell something. The difference is that spammers do not attempt to acquire sensitive information. Sometimes the spammer poses as someone affiliated with your organization, as in the following example. This spammer is pretending to be a UIndy student, but we can see that this e-mail is from, not a UIndy e-mail address.

Spam Example

Sent By: "Ashley Lewis" <>
On: December 13, 2008 2:00 PM
To: tbusch

In case you haven't heard already, our campus has been offered an institutional discount (45%) on high quality, 8 mega-pixel digital cameras. This camera takes both ultra-sharp pictures and movies; perfect for FaceBook, Flickr, and YouTube. There is currently a limit of 5 units per person to allow everyone the opportunity to buy. Students/Faculty receive a free 4gb removable memory card on orders placed before next Friday (while supplies last). For parties, events, and holidays with the family, these compact cameras make the perfect gift. Deliveries will be made to addresses around campus as well as any home addresses (can be sent as gifts). Please review the website below to find more details. Enjoy your holidays and good luck on finals!
Ashley Lewis Campus Rep


Phishing Examples

Following are two examples of recent phishing attempts sent to UIndy e-mail addresses. Many additional real-life phishing examples are available in the Anti-Phishing Working Group (APWG) Archive.

Example 1.

Click here to see what's "phishy" about this e-mail.

Sent: Tuesday, December 9, 2008 9:26:11 AM GMT -05:00 US/Canada Eastern
Subject: US Bank - Verified by Visa Enrollment

Dear US Bank Customer

Your US Bank card has been automatically enrolled in the Verified
by Visa program
To ensure your Visa card?s security, it is important that you
protect your Visa card online with a personal password. Please
take a moment, and activate for Verified by Visa now.

Verified by Visa protects your existing Visa card with a password
you create, giving you assurance that only you can use your Visa
card online.
Simply activate your card and create your personal password.
You?ll get the added confidence that your Visa card is safe when
you shop at participating online stores.

Please click the link below Activate Now for Verified by Visa

We present our apologies and thank you for co-operating.
Please do not answer to this email - follow the instructions
These instructions have been sent to all bank customers and it's
obligatory to follow.
- 2008 US Bank Service Department

* Please note: If you FAIL to update your Visa card, it will be
temporarily disabled.


Example 2.

This example appears to be an official communication from Huntington Bank, even using an official-looking logo. Click here to find out what's "phishy" about this e-mail and what would happen if you clicked on the link to the "Resolution Center."

Tags: -

Related entries:

You can comment this FAQ

Comment of Stevie:
Hello, A good article, but the "click here" links in the examples are no longer functioning. Thanks!
Added at: 2016-02-10 20:55