Humboldt County Office of Education: Recognizing an Email Phishing Scam

Recognizing an Email Phishing Scam

Here at HCOE, we have received several phishing scams purporting to be invoices, wire receipts, tracking numbers, etc. and, most recently, cleverly crafted messages that appear to relate to your Office 365 account. According to Wikipedia, Phishing is the attempt to obtain sensitive information such as usernames, passwords, and credit card details (and, indirectly, money), often for malicious reasons, by disguising as a trustworthy entity in an electronic communication. (

First of all, we will never send you an email notifying you that something dire is about to happen to your account. Second, any email related to your account will come from someone you recognize in the HCOE Information Technology department.

Here is an example of a phishing email:

Notice that the sender is not from HCOE and Notice the awkward language. Also Notice when you hover your mouse over the link where it would take you (don’t click).

If you had clicked on the link, it would have taken you to a website cleverly disguised as the Office 365 login page (note, other scams might take you to a page that looks like your bank or credit card website):

Notice the web address. In this case “” refers to a website in South Africa. Our Office 365 website generally ends with “”

Keep in mind that email scammers will continue to get more sophisticated, and despite our best efforts at filtering, malicious email will reach your inbox.

Remember, whenever you get an email, especially if it has an attachment or a link for you to click, always:

  • Scrutinize the return address
  • Analyze the content of the message
  • Notice where the link would take you
  • Examine the message for anything else unusual (e.g. Signed, “THE E-MAIL SECURITY”)

Stay SANE. When in doubt, don’t click!

Administration Office

Natalie Carrigan
Executive Assistant to the Superintendent

Press Inquiries

Natalie Carrigan
Executive Assistant to the Superintendent