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External E-mail Tag

external e-mail tags -

Most scam attempts begin with an e-mail from outside of, but some of the scammers go to great lengths to make messages appear as local Clarion messages by using Clarion-specific names etc. in the message text and addresses.

To assist with the detection of scam messages...  When a message is received from outside of, an [EXTERNAL]  is added to the top of the message:

Does an [External] Tag mean that a message is unsafe?

 No.  The [EXTERNAL] tag will simply be a clear indicator that the e-mail was sent from outside of PennWest Clarion.  Many safe and legitimate e-mail message come from external systems.  However, when one sees the [EXTERNAL] tag it is a caution to stop and think about the e-mail and to use caution in evaluating the message content and any associated links or attachments. 

If a message does not have the [EXTERNAL] tag, does that mean it is safe?

 NO!  The [EXTERNAL] tag is a helpful indicator, but your caution and good judgement remain the key factors in evaluating any e-mail that you receive.   

When you see an [EXTERNAL] tag on a message or when you review a message in your Junk Email folder, those are clear indicators to be extra cautious.  However, with the variety of security threats that exist today it’s important to be cautious with all e-mail.  

Please review the tips below and see our Safe Computing site for additional information.

Please Stop and Review message details before you reply, click on a link, or open an attachment in the message. 

  • Don’t make assumptions about the sender of a message.  Check the “sender” details carefully.  Scammers will “spoof” names and other information (even pictures) in an attempt to impersonate other people.  Some of these attempts are very customized – “spoofing” the name of a particular individual from Clarion.. 
  • Be alert to message context.  Watch out for calls to action (policy reviews, surveys, payments, account terminations, contact me right away, buy something for me (ex. gift cards), etc.), questionable or unusual communication patterns, unusual grammar or terminology,  and any other unexpected or unusual requests.
  • Pay very close attention to the URL (web site) for any links that are sent to you in an e-mail message.  In your e-mail client, you can hover over a link to see the URL.  Do not follow links to suspicious URL’s.  If you do not have context for the message or URL in question and are prompted to enter your username / password or install a program, please STOP -- do not enter the information or download the file;
  • Be very cautious with opening e-mail attachments – particularly if you do not recognize the sender, do not have legitimate context for the attachment (who, what, why), do not recognize the file type, or get prompted to install or activate any type of software or software feature.
  • Use extra caution with any message that contains the Clarion [External] e-mail tag. 
  • Use extra caution anytime that you review messages in your Junk Email folder.



Be attentive to possible scam attempts!  Scammers use various techniques to try to trick you into…

  • Revealing your username and password so hackers can gain access to your systems and your information
  • Engaging you in some type of financial transaction (bank check, money order, credit card, buying iTunes or other gift cards, scholarships, etc.) or employment transaction that can ultimately compromise your bank or credit card accounts or your personal information.
  • Opening file attachments that can infect your computer with malicious software
  • Clicking on links within messages that download hidden files or lead you to web sites that can infect your computer with malicious software


Last Updated 8/22/22