Safeguard your personal information and be wary of people and emails that seem phishy.
It all seemed normal at first. It was simple transaction. I was selling furniture on Craigslist and a young women had agreed to buy it for the asking price. All she needed was to pay me through PayPal.
Then I got an email from PayPal saying that she had paid me. A few minutes later the young women informed me she had put extra money in my account in order to have the items moved through a moving company, and that the money from PayPal would not be officially put into my account until I paid the moving company with the extra money. All they needed was my credit card information.
I replied to the email saying I wouldn’t give them my credit card information.
“I don’t know why you paid me extra but I won’t be giving the moving company my credit card information,” I wrote.
“All you have to do is pay the moving company. Then email the receipt to PayPal and they’ll give you the funds” she said.
“I informed you beforehand that moving of the furniture is not my responsibility and you will have to deal with that,” I wrote, losing my patience with her.
“I gave you the extra money for that reason. I’m very busy, just do it,” she demanded. “If you don’t I will be forced to contact the authorities”
It wasn’t until I received emails from both Interpol and the FBI regarding this issue that I realized this was a very elaborate and snarky scam.
Upon further investigation the “moving” company was located in South Africa and the emails from PayPal, Interpol, and the FBI were all coming from Gmail accounts.That’s when I was glad that I didn’t give out my credit card information.
Identity theft through phishing and viruses is a very serious and very real problem. According to Forbes 1 in 20 people have been victims. How do we protect ourselves from phishing a fraudulent claims?
Real businesses don’t want your personal information
It’s important to note the phishing predates the internet and imposters having been using means like the telephone for years. However, legitimate businesses don’t usually ask for personal information when completing transactions, like opening a credit card or completing a purchase. They usually only require a name and an address.
Fake emails sometimes include a threat
“If you don’t respond to this email immediately your account will be closed.” Emails phishing for information often have some sort of threat that then prompt you to a link. The links either directs you to a new webpage where you are asked to enter in personal information like your Social Security Number, credit card information, phone number, or address. Or, the link contains a virus that when clicked will infect your computer.
You can check links if you hover
If you place your cursor over a link a box will pop up with the address of where the link will take you. Check to make sure it the real businesses website. Also, make sure it doesn’t contain suspect symbols, e.g. @, or a long string of numbers. Even though the URL might say www.realbusiness.com, an oddly placed symbol or long string of numbers can take you somewhere else.
Spell check the email
If you think the email might have been written by a third grader then be wary. Phishing emails are usually typed up quickly and inefficiently and often have several misspelled words. Double check to make sure the email is well thought out by an actual business.
Properly dispose of important information
Lastly, identity fraud isn’t isolated to the internet. Perpetrators have gone as far as going through your mail in order to get the information they need. Make sure to shred or even burn mail containing credit card information, your Social Security number and other sensitive material.
Making sure no one has access to your very private information can save you a lot of headaches and even financial ruin down the road
For further information on security issues:
Visit our IT security site for more topics at it.adelphi.edu/security.
Live chat with a Help Desk rep at chat.adelphi.edu.
Email your issue to email@example.com or call 516.877.3340.
National Cyber Security Awareness Month is an initiative launched by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Aligning with this campaign, Adelphi IT urges everyone at the University to take responsibility for protecting your digital resources, whether personal, academic, or professional.
For further information, please contact:
Strategic Communications Director
p – 516.237.8634
e – firstname.lastname@example.org