Spammers phish for personal information

Phishing is not an activity you do on the weekend with your dad.

Phishing is an on-the-rise problem in which a fraudulent group attempts to trick you into giving them your personal information.

According to the Executive Director of Learning, Information and Technology Services Pat Benekos, this problem is not just academic. It affects people all over the Internet.

Phishing is not only a problem for the victim, but to the entire Mercyhurst College community, Benekos said.

Once a group gains account information, spam will be sent from those e-mail addresses, which can result in every Mercyhurst e-mail address being blacklisted.

Like many other students, Sophomore KC Stoyer was asked for information from telemarketers and received e-mails in the past from Nigeria about lottery winnings,
she said.

Benekos advises students and faculty members to never share their usernames, passwords, credit card information or any other personal information with anyone, and never open any attachments or links in e-mails about which they are unsure.

Mercyhurst will never ask you to verify your information through e-mail, Benekos said.

If it is necessary to contact someone with personal information, “You need to initiate the communication process and make sure it’s a bona fide office,” Benekos said. “Rule of thumb: If you didn’t contact the group first, don’t trust them.”

“I think people need to be more careful about what they do in the first place,” sophomore Alyssa Boxer said. “If they are (more careful), the problem (phishing) shouldn’t be an issue.”

Students who think they have been a victim of phishing should immediately change their passwords in an attempt to prevent anyone from accessing their accounts. Then, contact the Helpdesk at extension 3200.

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