Phishing and online scams: Important info: Protect yourself and your stuff!

Published On January 30, 2017 | By Luke | Resources

We’ve had some reports that students using Office 365 have received an email titled “Last warning: You are violating the terms and conditions”. This is not a legit email and should be deleted immediately – it is an example of what those in the know refer to as Phishing.

Here’s a bit of background on Phishing and how to protect yourself (from the ACCC):

Phishing is described by the ACCC as ‘attempts by scammers to trick you into giving out personal information such as your bank account numbers, passwords and credit card numbers’.  This is done by a scammer contacting you via email or over the phone to make you some sort of offer, ask you to verify some details, or to alert you to some unauthorised activity on a bank or credit card account.

Generally, these scammers will say they represent a well-known organisation (such as your bank, the government, even your University) and might even have a website that looks a lot like the website that you use to conduct business with the organisation.

The ACCC has put together some warning signs that you may be being Phished (it’s a real word, look it up):

  • You are contacted by an organisation that you don’t usually do business with asking you to update your details.
  • You aren’t addressed by your proper name, the email includes typos, bad grammar etc.
  • The website looks different to the one you would normally use and is asking questions that the normal website doesn’t normally ask.
  • Your computer is slow or there is a new icon on your desktop.

So what do you do?

Don’t respond. Delete the email and don’t click on any links.

  • Check the internet to see if there are known scams connected to this organisation, you could contact the organisation the scammers are pretending to be to let it know about the scam, so it can tell its customers/clients.
  • Check the website you are using is encrypted, that is, the URL will start with ‘https:’ instead of ‘http:’ (with the ‘s’ standing for ‘secure’).
  • Never provide your personal details over the phone. If you receive a call claiming to be from your bank or any other organisation, ask for their details and check with the organisation personally.

If you think you have been a victim of a phishing scam or you just notice something a bit dodgy, you can:


Source: Australian Competition and Consumer Commission

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