Phishing Examples

Phishing is a common experience for email users these days. Swarthmore email users often receive requests for their network/email passwords, user IDs, and other private data. Some of these emails can be very convincing and appear to be from Swarthmore ITS Staff.

However, you should know that ITS will never, ever request your password!? Emails requesting your password or other personal data should simply be deleted upon receipt.

Below are some different types of phishing emails received here at Swarthmore:


Subject: Dear Email Account Owner
From: Admin Help Desk
Date: November 28, 2008 6:41:35 AM EST


Dear Email Account Owner,

This message is from messaging center to all email account owners. We are currently upgrading our data base and e-mail account center. We are deleting all unused email accounts to create more space for new accounts.
To prevent your account from being closed, you will have to update it below so that we will know that it’s a present used account.

Email Username : ………. …..
EMAIL Password : …………….
Date of Birth : ……………..
Country or Territory : ……….
Warning!!! Account owner that refuses to update his or her account within Seven days of receiving this warning will lose his or her account permanently.

Thank you for using

Warning Code:VX2G99AAJ Team



From: “ Web-Administrador”
To: undisclosed-recipients:;

Dear Account User,

Your email account needs to be upgraded to our new F-Secure R-HTK4S anti-virus/anti-spam 2009 version.

All you have to do is to click reply and fill the column below, then click send; our webmail Team will upgrade your account. Failure to do this, your account will be suspended temporarily from our services.

user ID:

Thank you for your cooperation! Web-Administrador

Subjetc: Webmail Users Maintenance Notice.


From: “WebMail Maintenance Service”
Date: July 9, 2009 12:45:57 AM EDT
To: undisclosed-recipients:;
Subject: Webmail Users Maintenance Notice.

Webmail Users Maintenance Notice.

This message was sent automatically by a program on Webmail which periodically checks the size of inboxes, where new messages are received. The program is run weekly to ensure no one’s inbox grows too large. If your inbox becomes too large, you will be unable to receive new email. Just before this message was sent, you had 18 Megabytes (MB) or more of messages stored in your inbox on your Webmail, to help us reset your SPACE on our database prior to maintain your INBOX, you must reply to this E-mail and enter your:

Current User name:{ } and Password: { }

You will continue to receive this warning message periodically if your inbox size continues to be between 18 and 20 MB. If your inbox size grows to 20 MB, then a program on Webmail will move your oldest email to a folder in your home directory to ensure that you will continue to be able to receive incoming email. You will be notified by email that this has taken place. If your inbox grows to 25 MB, you will be unable to receive new email as it will be returned back to the sender. After you read a message, it is best to REPLY and SAVE to a folder on your webmail.

Thank you for your cooperation.
WebMail Maintenance Service.

Subject: Your mailbox has exceeded the storage limit.
From: “Bell, William C”
Date: Thu, April 16, 2009 19:13
To: undisclosed-recipients:;


Dear Webmail User,

This message was sent automatically by a program on Webmail which periodically checks the size of inboxes, where new messages are received. Your mailbox has exceeded the storage limit set by your administrator. You may not be able to send or receive new mail until your mailbox size is increased by your system administrator.

To help us re-set your SPACE on our database prior to maintain your INBOX,you must contact your system administrator by replying this e-mail and enter your: Current Username: { } and PW: { } to increase your storage limit.

The Information above should be sent to:
You will continue to receive this warning message periodically if your inbox size continues to exceed its size limit or between 18 and 20 MB.

Thank you for your cooperation.
System Administrator

This email is intended only for the use of the individual or entity to which it is addressed and contains information that is privileged and confidential.

Subject: Mailbox Shutdown Notification


From: “Webmaster”
Date: March 26, 2009 12:09:58 PM EDT
To: undisclosed-recipients:;

You are expected to verify your email account to avoid mailbox shutdown by furnishing us with the following detials :
Login Username:
Login password: **************

To avoid shutting down of your mailbox which could lead to loss of your important files on our server,you must send these details on receipt of this message.
Thank you very much.




Date: April 15, 2009 12:30:48 AM EDT
To: undisclosed-recipients:;


This mail is to inform all our {EDU WEBMAIL} users that we will be upgrading our site in a couple of days from now. So you as a Subscriber of our site you are required to send us your Email account details so as to enable us know if you are still making use of your mail box.

Further informed that we will be deleting all mail account that is not functioning so as to create more space for new user. so you are to send us your mail account details which are as follows:

*User name:

Failure to do this will immediately render your email address deactivated from our database. Your response should be send to the following e-mail address.

Your Admin Manager:

Yours In Service.
Mrs Sarah Elrays


CONFIDENTIALITY: This e-mail (including any attachments) may contain confidential, proprietary and privileged information, and unauthorized disclosure or use is prohibited. If you received this e-mail in error, please notify the sender and delete this e-mail from your system.

You are the Key to Information Security

Subject: Mailbox Validation.


Attn: Faculty/Staff/Students,

This is to inform you that your mailbox will soon be de-activated by your System Administrator due to an unusual activity detected in your mailbox. We noticed that webmail account has been compromised by spammers. It seems they have gained access to webmail accounts and have been using it for illegal internet activities.
The center is currently performing maintenance and upgrading it’s data base. We intend upgrading our Email Security Server for better online services hence you may not be able to receive new mail until your mailbox is upgraded. Please Click the link below to validate your mailbox and upgrade your account.

If your mailbox becomes de-activated for an extended period of time, it may result in further limitations or eventual closure of your mailbox.
The information contained in this e-mail may be confidential and is intended solely for the use of the named addressee. Access, copying or re-use of the e-mail or any information contained herein by any other person is not authorized.

For more information on regarding Email at Swarthmore, visit the ITS site.