May 28, 2020

Be Aware of Phishing Scams

The following message is from UMW’s Office of IT Security.

Don’t Fall for That Phish!

Email is an essential part of our everyday communications. It also is one of the most common methods that hackers use to attempt to gain access to sensitive information. More than 90% of data breaches start with a phishing attack. Phishing uses fraudulent email messages designed to impersonate a legitimate person or organization.

Please be aware of new phishing scams attempting to take advantage of COVID-19 uncertainty. Our peer institutions have reported an increase in phony messages using COVID-19 themes to grab attention. They will try to scam you, or launch phishing attacks that attempt to get you to click on malicious links or open infected email attachments. Scammers also use phishing emails to get access to your computer or network then they install programs like ransomware that can lock you out of important files on your computer. Some attackers go to great lengths to make their scam emails look legitimate by including the logo of UMW or other businesses.

Here are some of the most common indicators that the phone call or email you received is probably a scam or attack:

  • Any messages that communicate a tremendous sense of urgency. The bad guys are trying to rush you into making a mistake.
  • Any message that pressures you into bypassing or ignoring our security policies and procedures.
  • Any message that promotes miracle cures, such as vaccines or medicine that will protect you. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
  • Be very suspicious of any phone call or message that pretends to be an official or government organization urging you to take immediate action.
  • Be suspicious of emails offering part-time or work from home opportunities.

If you’re unsure if an email is legitimate, or if you know for certain it isn’t, DO NOT RESPOND to it or click on any links in it. Please report it directly to Information Security at it-abuse@umw.edu. Should you have any questions or concerns regarding a suspicious email, feel free to send an email to HelpDesk@umw.edu.

Thank you for helping spread the word. We appreciate your attention to this matter, and for all you do to keep UMW secure.

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