External Email Tags

Phishing attacks are a top cybersecurity threat to Samuel Merritt University. These types of attacks involve the use of malicious attachments or links in an email to steal personally identifiable information (PII). To identify potential phishing emails from outside senders, Information Technology has instituted the use of external email tags.

External email tags and alerts

External email tags will notify you when an email has been sent from someone outside of Samuel Merritt University. This notification alerts you to potential risks of clicking on links or opening attachments in emails sent from an unrecognized sender.

When you receive an email from a non-samuelmerritt.edu address, such as Gmail or Yahoo, the text [**External**] will be added to the beginning of the subject line. External email tags will appear when viewing your Samuel Merritt University email in the Outlook Web App (OWA), email clients and mobile devices.

Example of external email alert

This alert will only appear when accessing your email with the following applications:

  • Outlook Web App (OWA)
  • Microsoft Outlook 2010 or above
  • Outlook App for iOS/Android



  • Is an email unsafe to open if it contains an external email tag?
    • An external email tag does not indicate that an email is unsafe. However, you should be cautious of clicking on links or opening attachments if you do not recognize the sender.
  • If I forward a copy of a tagged email, will the external email tag also be forwarded?
    • Yes, the text [**External**] added to the beginning of the subject line will be included in any forwarded copies of the email.
  • What does it mean if I receive an external email and it does not have an external email tag?
    • External email tags are applied to the majority of external emails sent to email addresses ending in @samuelmerritt.edu. However, it is possible for an external email to be delivered without an external email tag. In these cases, IT recommends proceeding with caution when viewing the message.