Be on the alert: City employees receive phishing email

Several City employees were recently recipients of a phishing ploy that you too may receive. The message threatens that your email account is about to be terminated — sometimes stating it’s because of server space issues — and you need to click on a link to reactivate your mailbox.

The IT security officer has created an example message to show you some tricks phishing ploys use (the actual email address and URL are not used):


Notice that the sender appears to be “City of Minneapolis,” but a closer look at the email address shows the message really comes from somewhere else, in this case, [email protected]

Now take a look at the URL itself in the sample: At first glance, it looks like it could be legitimate; it does say “minneapolis and mn.” But we don’t have hyphens in our URL, and another giveaway is, which has nothing to do with the City’s domain of

Phishing ploys are designed to get you to give out sensitive information, such as usernames, passwords or credit card details. The ploys work when we take a glance at the message and react. If instead you take a moment and focus on the message, you can spot these tricks. Stay safe: take a closer look and think before you click.

Remember that the IT Service Desk will never email you with a threat to terminate your email account or ask for your account credentials either on the phone, in person or via a Web page. So anyone who asks you for them is not with the City.


Questions or comments?

Do you have a security-related question or suggestion or want to comment on this article? Contact the IT security officer.

Learn more

Visit the iRiskAware page on CityTalk for more security-related tips and information.

Published Jul 28, 2015



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