This month we have seen an uptick in phishing attacks against our faculty and staff at school. Here is a copy of some suggestions for responding to and protecting against email phishing attacks which I shared this evening via email with our team.

General guidelines for responding to email phishing attacks are:

  1. If you are concerned that someone who has emailed you via a suspicious message is in genuine trouble or needs assistance, contact them directly through a phone call or text message if you have their cell number.
  2. Do NOT reply or send any gift cards / money in response to a phishing email.
  3. Do NOT click any links in a phishing email. (If you think you need to visit a website referenced in a suspicious email, DIRECTLY type that web link into your browser instead.)
  4. Please “report the original message as phishing” in Gmail. (If you’re using Gmail.)

Proactive steps you can take to further protect yourself from identity theft and phishing attacks are:

  1. Turn on two step verification / multi-factor authentication on all banking and other websites if available. (The website twofactorauth.org has an updated list of sites supporting 2FA/MFA.)
  2. Use a password manager like LastPass so you can use LONG, complex, and UNIQUE passwords on every website and app you use.
  3. Help your family and friends setup 2FA/MFA and use a password manager.
  4. Consider putting a “credit freeze” or “credit lock” on your social security number, and SSNs of your spouse/children. Credit Karma has a good article about how to do this and the differences between freezes and locks.
  5. Regularly monitor your credit report, and your bank accounts to look for unknown expenses you have not authorized. Let your bank know immediately if you notice unauthorized charges so they can cancel that card and refund charges.

Stay safe out there!

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