Be an Internet Skeptic: Avoid Scams

Posted on 10/3/2014 2:25:31 PM

The IT Support Center responds to hundreds of calls annually from campus community members who fall prey to scams that can compromise personal and financial information. Here are some of the scams we've seen this year and what you can do to avoid them.

Scams include the following:

  • E-mails containing fake links requesting your username, password, or other information.
  • Phone calls in which the caller identifies himself or herself from Microsoft, Apple, or the IUP IT Support center asking you to provide you credentials so they may access you computer.
  • Internet search results that provide fake technical support numbers for legitimate companies (e.g., Apple or Microsoft) by which scammers attempt to obtain your information.
  • E-mails, Web pages, or responses to classified ads in which the individual will send you a fake check, while requesting a good check or money order for you.

Using these tips and approaching e-mails, phone calls, and other communications with a healthy dose of skepticism, you can avoid scams:

  • Avoid clicking on links from users and e-mail addresses with which you are unfamiliar.
  • Never give out usernames, passwords, or other sensitive information via telephone or e-mail.
  • Check the URLs for all Web pages in which you provide sensitive information. Make sure that the address is legitimate and secure (beginning with https://).
  • Avoid offers that sound too good to be true.
  • Confirm the legitimacy of financial transactions before providing refunds or issuing checks or money orders to strangers.

For more details on recent scams and how to avoid becoming a victim, see the IT Security Web page.