Spam is the electronic equivalent of junk mail. They are unsolicited bulk messages, messages sent to multiple recipients who did not ask for them.

Follow these tips from the National Cyber Security Alliance:

  • Enable filters on your email programs: Most internet service providers (ISPs) and email providers offer spam filters; however, depending on the level you set, you may end up blocking emails you want. It’s a good idea to occasionally check your junk folder to ensure the filters are working properly.
  • Report spam: Most email clients offer ways to mark an email as spam or report instances of spam. Reporting spam will also help to prevent the messages from being directly delivered to your inbox.
  • Own your online presence: Consider hiding your email address from online profiles and social networking sites or only allowing certain people to view your personal information.


Scammers might ask for personal information such as bank account numbers, social security numbers, dates of birth, and other details that can be used to commit fraud or to sell a person's identity. Do not provide this information and do not respond to suspicious emails or phone calls. It is best to contact the business or agency directly by phone or through their website. If these emails are coming in to your institutional email address, report them to [email protected] or [email protected].

Be reminded that government agencies do not use telephone collection agencies to collect on debt or charges due. The phone numbers of government agencies can be verified on their .gov websites.

Tips for Avoiding Being a Victim of Spam or Phishing

  • Do not send money, cryptocurrency, gift cards or other forms of payment to unknown individuals.
  • Use strong passwords and change your passwords often.
  • Use two-factor authentication whenever possible.
  • Do not click on links from suspicious emails.

What to Do if You Are a Victim

  • Report the attack to UT Police or your local police department and file a report with the Federal Trade Commission and start your recovery plan.
  • Forward suspected phishing emails as an attachment to Information Security at [email protected] (MD Anderson employees) or IT Security at [email protected] (UTHealth employees).
  • Report phone call scams to your local law enforcement agency and to UT Police at (713) 792-2890.