Phishing Scam Warning

May 9, 2013

To the Hobart and William Smith Community —

I am writing to make you aware of a very sophisticated scam e-mail that began circulating recently so that you do not respond to it. Messages like this are dangerous because they are aimed at stealing your credentials by asking for your username and password.

Although it may seem difficult to tell real messages from potentially harmful ones, there are some questions you can ask yourself to help determine if a message is legitimate:

  • Is the e-mail from If not, it is not an official message.
  • Is the e-mail asking for a username and password? If yes, it is not an official message.

The example, at the end of this message, shows how sophisticated some of these scams may be, often looking like an official HWS message.

As always, if you have any questions or concerns you should contact the Help Desk at 315-781-4357 to be sure.

Please remember, IT Services will never ask for your username and password by e-mail.

Kelly McLaughlin
Director of Operations and Technical Support

Example Scam Message:

scam header

Dear Members and Staffs

We have detected unusual activity on this account and for your security are temporarily blocking access. To regain access to this account, please click the button below.

To prevent your account from closing you will have to update. by clicking here

Online Helpdesks



Hobart and William Smith Colleges,
Geneva, NY 14456
(315) 781-3000

Contact the Colleges


Offices and Resources
Campus Directory

make a gift

Preparing Students to Lead Lives of Consequence.