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How to Avoid Being Scammed

When you see texts or emails like the ones pictured to the left, or get calls with similar content, the sender or caller is generally not legitimate. Due to an increased number of phishing phone calls and text messages, VSU Information Security would like to give you some tips to protect your personal information and avoid identity theft. These tips apply to phishing calls or messages on your personal phone(s), work phone, and email.

Handling unexpected messages or calls:

  • Unexpected text, email, or voicemail messages from unknown senders are one indication that the message may be fraudulent. Don’t click on links or reply; delete the message.
  • If you receive a call from an unknown number that you weren’t expecting, allow the call to go to voicemail. If the caller leaves a message, you can determine the purpose of the call and whether it is legitimate before responding.
  • If you do answer a call, and believe it might be a scam, hang up as soon as possible. Don’t give the caller any information, especially credit card numbers, passwords, or banking information.

Identifying legitimate senders:

  • If you regularly receive calls or texts from a person or business, add a contact in your phone or email address book so that the sender will be recognized.
  • Legitimate callers will provide their names and a call-back number so that you can reach them.
  • Official entities, I.e. the Internal Revenue Service, VSU Information Technology, Microsoft, etc, will not call you or text you to ask for your credit card information, account password, or banking information.

If you respond to a scam:

You may need to notify different places based on the type of information that was provided to a scammer. For example, if you shared your banking account number, you should contact your bank for assistance. These are some basic steps that apply to most situations.

  • Change any passwords for accounts that might have information revealed.
  • If you gave the scammer any financial information, including bank routing numbers or credit card numbers, notify the bank or credit agencies and pause payments on that account.
  • Be sure to use a different password for each account to reduce the risk of identity theft.
  • Enable 2FA on all accounts that support multi-factor authentication in addition to using strong passwords.

For more tips on handling scam calls and messages, please check our previous bulletin, available here: Password Security Recommendations

IT Scheduled Maintenance for 8/28

Keyboard

Maintenance is scheduled for Friday, August 28, 2020:

Starts: 10pm
Ends: 7am Saturday, August 29.

Details: Systems Support Services (SSS) will be performing an OS patch on various USG services.

See the following link for full maintenance details: https://status.usg.edu/incidents/0bxd5xb1ry4k

COVID-19 Scams and Misinformation

computer with padlock on it

Dear Blazers: As the COVID-19 outbreak continues to evolve, bad actors are taking advantage of the situation to not only spread misinformation through social media and websites but are also using phishing emails to obtain personal information or spread malicious software.

Here are some tips to avoid being victimized.

  • Obtain information from trusted sources. Refer to the World Health Organization (WHO) (https://www.who.int), Centers for Disease Control (CDC) (https://www.cdc.gov) and the Georgia Department of Public Health (https://dph.georgia.gov/) for official information on COVID-19.
  • Check email addresses and links. Inspect web links by hovering your mouse pointer over the URL to see where it leads. Review the sender’s email address.
  • Beware of online requests for personal information. A COVID-19 themed email requesting personal information like your Social Security number or login information is a phishing scam. Never respond to these emails.
  • Watch for spelling and grammatical mistakes. If an email includes spelling, punctuation or grammar errors, it is possible this is a phishing email.
  • Look for generic greetings. Phishing emails are likely to use greetings like “Dear sir or madam.” These usually signal an email is not legitimate.
  • Avoid COVID-19 themed emails requiring an immediate response. Phishing emails often create a sense of urgency. StopThink-Then Click.
  • Report suspicious institution emails. Contact the USG Enterprise Service Center at helpdesk@usg.edu (706-583-2001) if you receive suspicious email from your institution account. 

Be well and be cyber-safe!

Spring Break Tech Tips

VSU Information Technology would like you to have a few things in mind as you travel for spring break.

Recommendations

  • Don’t lose sight of your valuables; keep them on your person.
  • Don’t use public WiFi. Anyone can log on to it and steal information. Cellular data is a much safer option.
  • Call your credit and debit card company before you travel outside of your normal spending areas. If they are alerted, your card isn’t as likely to be frozen for suspected fraud.
  • Be prepared with a backup payment option.
  • Store your bank and credit card phone number in your phone and wallet in case you have to cancel a lost or stolen card.
  • Make sure to have protection on your phone: a 6-digit pin, password, pattern, or biometric option (fingerprint, facial, or iris).
  • Enable a geolocation app (Apple Find My, Google Find My Device, etc.) on your mobile devices to track them if they are lost or stolen.
  • Learn more about keeping your online data protected by visiting VSU Information Security site.

Comic Transcript – March 10, 2020

A Rather Unfortunate Break
By Luke Edmondson, VSU Information Technology

Character 1: Hey, Alice. How was your break?

Alice: Well, I went to a bar after I got to the city. When I went to pay, I couldn’t use my credit card. The transaction was flagged as fraud.

Alice: I left the bar and found out that someone had broken into my car. My laptop and most of my clothes were stolen. I then went to my hotel.

Alice: Despite my phone warning me that I was connecting to an insecure network, I connected to the hotel WiFi to check my bank account since my credit card was frozen.
Alice: The next morning, when I went to pay for my breakfast, my debit card got refused but luckily I had cash on me.

Alice: However, I left my phone at the table when I went to pay and when I came back, it was gone.

Alice: Since I didn’t have my phone or laptop, I went to an ATM to check my bank transactions. I found out that someone else logged in and transferred all the money out of my checking account!

Character 1: I guess you could say that you had a rough break.

Character 1: So you don’t have such an unfortunate break, take a look at the recommendations I shared with Alice below.

Secure Online Shopping Tips

Laptop and Locked Chain

Scammers and other fraudulent actors become especially active during the holiday season . . .

Keep your data SAFE!

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