Let’s NOT go phishing…

Posted on May 3, 2010. Filed under: Uncategorized |

by Tim Van Heule
Distance Learning Coordinator

Dateline NBC was on last night. I’m not a huge fan of Dateline NBC because most of the stories don’t really interest me. The story that aired last night was about Internet/email scams. I wasn’t really watching because these types of phishing emails have been around for so long now, that it’s hard to believe that people still get hooked. But then again, when you hear the stories and the promises that those running the scam make, you can see how convincing they appear. These scams continue to evolve.

So, you may be asking yourself, “Why is he writing all of this?” The answer is that as I logged into my email this morning, there in my inbox was a scam email message. I did the best thing possible, I ignored it and deleted it. But as I was deleting the message, I couldn’t help but think about how many people may respond.

The scam email message I saw this morning didn’t promise me millions of dollars or even ask me for my bank account information, it simply stated that it was from my email administrators and they were going to delete my account if I didn’t verify the account by replying with my username and password.

There seem to be more and more of these types of emails arriving daily in our inboxes. Often times, we read them and we cautiously delete them only to discover that the same message appears again in our inbox. When this scam email message appears again, we’re just not sure what to do – we think to ourselves, “Maybe the first email was legit and they are giving me a second chance?” These scam email messages are never legit. The second chance they are giving us is the second chance to steal our information.

Email system administrators don’t need to ask people for their account information, they already have access to all of that information – that’s why they are the administrators of the email system. This is especially true here in Greenville County, our email account administrators will never ask for that information. As a general rule, you should never open emails from people you don’t know and definitely don’t open any attachments or click on any links that may be in these emails. The best thing to do is just delete them.

If you happen to click on one of the links or open an attachment from an email scam message, you should contact your information technology (IT) people right away. They should know what to do to resolve this breach of security.

Email scam attachments generally contain a virus that can infect your computer with spyware or malware, often the information you enter on your computer is delivered back to the sender. Email scam links redirect you to a webpage that may look real, often with your company branding and logos. Any information that you enter on these fake webpages is delivered back to the sender and they use your information to deliver spam or viruses to others around the world.

In closing, always remember to delete emails from people you don’t know. Never open attachments or click on links in these emails, and always keep your username and password to yourself – don’t share it with anyone. 🙂

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    The School District of Greenville County – Instructional Technology Department

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