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Cybersecurity alert

DATE:  November 25, 2019
TO:      Students, Faculty and Staff
FROM: Shawn Belling, Chief Information Officer
RE:       Cybersecurity Alert – Fake IRS Emails

Sources monitored by the Technology Services Security Team report that Akamai’s cybersecurity research group is tracking an ongoing phishing campaign that impersonates the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) website. The impersonated websites are visually identical to the actual IRS website. The goal of this campaign is to acquire sensitive personal information such as email addresses, passwords, or even social security numbers. The scammers then submit fraudulent tax refund claims using the victim’s personal information.

The Akamai Threat Research Team has observed a surge in these phishing attacks, targeting over 100,000 users. 

Use the following practices to protect yourself from phishing attacks:

  • If you are unsure of an email’s legitimacy, contact the Help Desk
  • Do not click on links or attachments from senders that you do not recognize
  • Do not provide sensitive personal information over email
  • Review senders to look for suspicious or misleading domain names
  • Inspect URLs carefully to ensure that they are legitimate

The upcoming holiday and tax return seasons create opportunities for others to attempt to steal your personal data. Think before clicking on a link, replying to an email you were not expecting, or a message sent by someone you have not communicated with before.

Please contact the Help Desk if you have any questions: or extension 6666.  If you suspect an email is a phishing message, you can check the Madison College Phish Bowl at

Informing our staff of suspicious emails will help to ensure the safety of others who may receive similar communications.


Shawn Belling
Chief Information Officer

Published November 25, 2019.