ITS Blog

Email Fraud and You: Protect Yourself

by Bryan Webster | Feb 06, 2012

Phishing is an online scam where fraudsters impersonate an individual, a business or, an organization to trick you into giving out your personal information. Lander University has been targeted by phishing scams many times over the past several years. During the past two weeks, fraudsters have successfully tricked at least 4 members of the Lander University community into sharing account credentials and personal information. You must take an active role in protecting yourself from this type of fraud.

Lander University’s Information Technology Services (ITS) department provides and maintains a Barracuda SPAM firewall which stops many of these fraudulent messages from ever reaching your email inbox. ITS also blocks the internet addresses of known fraudulent sites so that you cannot inadvertently follow a known deceitful link and expose your personal information to impostors. However, internet phishing fraudsters are always working on new ways to slip past your defenses. They may use your relationship with Lander University, the mailing list that is the tops in your discipline, the name of your local bank, or the identity of a personal or professional contact that you regularly communicate with to try to persuade you to let down your guard. Do not allow them to succeed.

No legitimate entity will ask you to supply your personal information in response to an email request, whether by return email or by clicking on a link in an unsolicited email. If you receive an email asking for this information, do not supply it. Remember that these types of messages may suggest a matter of urgency; they may threaten to close your account or take other action if you do not respond immediately. This is another attempt to persuade you to let down your guard. If you have any doubt about the status of your account based on an email message you receive, contact the organization that you believe sent the message to you directly, without using any link within the email.

As a result of these recently compromised accounts, Lander University’s email service may continue to experience some delivery issues. Information Technology Services has resolved the issues with the compromised accounts and taken steps to have Lander University accounts removed from the blocked lists. It can take up to 48 hours for the cleared status of Lander’s email system to be posted, and any new incident means that the entire process must start again from the beginning.

You can help make sure that Lander’s email service does not experience incidents like this and protect your own personal information by using your email account wisely. Be aware of safeguarding your account credentials and stay alert for phishing scams.

Lander University's ITS department will never request that you verify sensitive personal information such as passwords and/or date of birth via email and will not send emails with executable attachments.

The ITS department will send emails from the 'Lander ITS' account (help@lander.edu ) signed by 'Lander University ITS Department.'

If you have any suspicions about the validity of an email that appears to come from an official address, please contact the institution by phone, in person, or through a secure means. Avoid sharing your personal information without good cause. Never share personal information via email. Do not open or save attachments from unknown sources. Take an active role in protecting your personal information.

If you have any questions or comments, please contact the ITS Help Desk at (864) 388-8234.

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