Identity theft is serious business and a serious threat to Internet users everywhere. PayPal’s online challenge “Can you spot Phishing” is a simple, five question quiz which could be used for a short professional development or faculty meeting overview of phishing and an online security update. If people are using email (as most teachers in the U.S. are currently) they need to understand phishing and how to avoid it.

In past 18 months the number of phishing schemes attempted worldwide has skyrocketed. All teachers know spam is a problem, but many do not understand the identity theft / phishing motive behind much spam and malware. If you have an opportunity to suggest important topics to discuss at an upcoming faculty meeting, and phishing has not been addressed or discussed recently, add it to your meeting agenda. Even if you just take 10 minutes to discuss it, the conversations you encourage could help teachers you work with protect their identities and the identities of others who use computers at your school.

In addition to sharing information and tips about avoiding phishing, ask if anyone on your school faculty has been a victim of identity theft or knows someone who has been a victim. If so and they are willing, ask them to share their story. The process of recovering from identity theft is prolonged and difficult. As with many other things, an ounce of prevention can be worth a pound of cure.

More information and tips about protecting yourself and others from phishing schemes is available from AT&T, Microsoft, About.com, and the U.S. Federal Trade Commission.

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2 Responses to Fight Phishing

  1. You are so right, this would make a great topic for a Professional Development Class. Two years ago, the Future Business Leaders of America’s Multimedia event dealt with identity theft. It was so hard to limit the presentation to only 5 minutes because there was so much out there. Thanks for the links to get started.

  2. Wesley, the issue of identity theft should weigh heavy on all of our minds, for sure. I’m not normally one to plug any product, but I do recommend you give http://www.lifelock.com a look. For a nominal monthly fee (under $10.00), these folks provide up to $1 Million of insurance against identity theft. Upon signing up, I received numerous reports from the three credit bureaus stating that extra security measures had been placed on my accounts. Perhaps not the solution for everyone, but definitely worth a look.

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