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Information Technology

Phishing Emails—What To Do If You Fall Victim

Phishing messages become more commonplace and sophisticated with each passing year as a result of our heavy use of email and technology in everyday life. Near the beginning of the calendar year in particular, scammers tend to increase their efforts to obtain confidential information in order to file fraudulent tax returns. Regardless of when it may happen, it's all too easy for us to fall victim to these scams, however, it's critically important to take action as soon as possible.

Next Steps

If you have inadvertently fallen prey to a phishing message and provided your Butler credentials after clicking on a malicious link, you should immediately do the following:
  • Reset your Butler password as soon as possible by following the instructions here.
  • Run an antivirus scan on your device.
  • Notify the Help Desk if you haven't already done so so that IT is aware of what happened and can help watch for suspicious activity associated with your account.
  • Don't be ashamed! These messages are constantly changing, so help others stay aware and avoid phishing emails/scams by sharing how this particular message tripped you up and what you've learned to watch out for in the future.
If you have inadvertently fallen prey to a phishing message and provided personally identifiable information such as your social security number, you may become the victim of identity theft: 

The Federal Trade Commission has resources for victims of identity theft to create recovery plans and take active steps toward minimizing the impact and repairing any damage.

  • Reset your Butler password as soon as possible by following the instructions here.
  • Visit www.identitytheft.gov
  • Create a recovery plan by:
    • Using their guided assistant feature, or
    • Reviewing their complete list of possible recovery steps
  • Execute the recovery plan
  • Notify the Help Desk if you haven't already done so so that IT is aware of what happened and can help watch for suspicious activity associated with your account
  • Don't be ashamed! These messages are constantly changing, so help others stay aware and avoid phishing emails/scams by sharing how this particular message tripped you up and what you've learned to watch out for in the future.

Some of the possible steps included in a recovery plan could include, but are not limited to:
  • Consider filing a complaint with the FTC
  • Review the IRS Guide to Identity Theft: https://www.irs.gov/uac/taxpayer-guide-to-identity-theft
  • Contact one of the three major credit bureaus to place a ‘fraud alert’ on your credit records:

  • Contact your financial institutions and ask them to review your accounts with you.
  • If your SSN is compromised and you know or suspect you are a victim of tax-related identity theft, the IRS recommends these additional steps:

    • Respond immediately to any IRS notice; call the number provided or, if instructed, go to IDVerify.irs.gov.

    • Complete IRS Form 14039, Identity Theft Affidavit, if your e-filed return rejects because of a duplicate filing under your SSN or if you are instructed to do so. Use a fillable form at IRS.gov, print, then attach the form to your return and mail according to instructions.