How to identify illegitimate email

Do not click just because an email tells you to!

1.       Look at who it is from. If it is not from someone you recognize or appears to be from some vague office at Duke, be suspicious.

2.       Look at the expression of urgency. If the email wants you to act right away, be suspicious.

3.       Look at what the email wants you to do. If the only option described is clicking on a link or an attachment, be suspicious.

4.       Look for clues that it is not genuine.

  1. Are there spelling or grammar mistakes?
  2. Does the From: address text say it’s from Duke, but the message seems to come from some other account?
  3. Is the link “obscured” (i.e., hidden behind link text)?
  4. Is the link overly complex or not a Duke link - you may need to move your pointer over it to see the real link.

If any of these are true, be suspicious.

What do you do if you are suspicious?

After examining everything, you may conclude it is a phishing or malware email (phishing is in pursuit of your personal info or access, and malware seeks to compromise your computer/device), and if so, just delete it. After examining everything, you may be unsure. If so, contact the law school’s Academic Technologies help desk before you click: 919-613-7072 or You can also get assistance from the Duke Office of Information Technology service desk: 919-684-2200 or .