Posted: December 7, 2018

I need advice! I have this email that wants me to ‘Click here to…..’ and it says it is URGENT!! “Ix-nay!” - Curly Howard, 1936 “Just Say No.” – Nancy Reagan, 1986 "No, no, no. Just....No." - Ag IT Staff, 2018

At this time of year there is always an uptick in spam messages attempting to trick you out of your sensitive personal information - these attempts are referred to as phishing. Don Welch, Chief Information Security Officer for Penn State, makes this definitive and alarming statement, "Phishing emails, where an attacker tries to get you to click a link, open an attachment or do something for them, are the biggest security threat we face." Dr. Welch, representing Penn State, would mean that this is the biggest security threat we face as a university, but you can also be sure that it is likely the biggest security threat we face as individuals as well.

The people behind these schemes know that many of us are busy, stressed, anxious and hurried during this time of year, and they send emails hoping to catch you at a weak moment, and with a scenario that may trigger an even more emotional response. You might see messages warning of things such as…your gift delivery requires confirmation of your credit card…your email account will be deleted unless you log in to renew…your debit card will be cancelled unless you verify your PIN immediately…over and over and over again.

Be cautious. Be deliberate. Call us! Shout, "Ixnay!" Yell, "Just Say No!" or "No, no, no. Just...NO!" Before clicking to save the day in a rush, make sure that you are not about to ruin the day in a rush! Verify that what you are about to do is with a legitimate entity. Penn State and credit/debit card companies are reacting more quickly than ever before when they detect a compromise - quickly shutting off services to protect you and themselves. This is great for protection, but can result in cancelled credit and debit cards just when you need them the most, and disabled computer and email accounts just as you are trying to enter end of the year attendance, or financials, or grades, etc.
Before falling victim to these phishing schemes, feel free to contact us at or by phone to 814-865-1229….or check Penn State's phishing scam page - (yes, yes…we know the irony of giving you a link in an email telling you to be wary of links in emails….sigh)

Information Technologies


401 Ag Administration Building
State College, PA 16802