The Investigators

Jul 25, 2012 5:00 PM

UAPD warns about email fraud

TUCSON - The University of Arizona Police Department issued a warning today regarding an increase of fraud and crimes involving email and all forms of electronic communication. UAPD wants you to know what to look out for and what to do if when you receive suspicious emails.

Below is the Campus Bulletin issued by UAPD:

July 25, 2012
As the preference toward communication through email and text messaging has increased, law enforcement has also seen an increase in crimes involving email fraud. The University of Arizona community is not immune to such fraud attempts. Recently, a UA student received a fraudulent email concerning a job opportunity. The sender explained the job paid $300 for one hour of work per week. The victim is required to deposit a check from the sender into a bank account, withdraw the offered salary from the supplied funds and then send the remaining funds to the sender. Luckily, the student recognized this as an email scam and contacted UAPD with the information.

UAPD would like to take this opportunity to remind community members of the dangers of email fraud and provide guidelines to use when attempting to identify email fraud. If you have been or think you have been the victim of an email fraud, please report it to UAPD by calling 9-1-1. Included below are some tips for safeguarding against email fraud:

1. Never respond to emails that request personal financial information.
i. Even if you think the email may be legitimate, don't respond - contact the company by phone or by visiting their website.

2. Only visit banks' websites by typing the URL into the address bar.
i. If you suspect an email from your bank or online company is false, do not follow any links embedded within it.

3. Be cautious about opening attachments and downloading files from emails, no matter who they are from.

4. Keep a regular check on your accounts.
i. Regularly log into your online accounts, and check your statements. If you see any suspicious transactions report them to your bank or credit card provider.

5. Verify the website you are visiting is secure.
i. Check the web address in the address bar. If the website you are visiting is on a secure server it should start with "https://" ("s" for security) rather than the usual http://
ii. Look for a lock icon on the browser's status bar. You can check the level of encryption, expressed in bits, by placing your cursor above the lock icon.
iii. If the website is using encryption, it doesn't necessarily mean that the website is legitimate. It only tells you that data is being sent in encrypted form.

6. Be cautious with passwords and personal data.
i. Never let anyone know your PIN number or your password, do not write them down, and do not use the same password for all your online accounts.
ii. Avoid opening or replying to spam emails as this will give the sender confirmation they have reached a legitimate address.

7. Keep your computer secure.
i. Some phishing emails or other spam may contain software that can record information on your internet activities (spyware) or open a 'backdoor' to allow hackers access to your computer (Trojans). Installing anti-virus software and keeping it up to date will help detect and disable malicious software, while using anti-spam software will stop phishing emails from reaching you. Also make sure you keep up to date and download the latest security patches for your browser.

8. Always report suspicious activity.
i. If you receive an email you suspect isn't genuine, forward it to the spoofed organization (many companies have a dedicated email address for reporting such abuse).

For further information on email fraud visit the UITS website at the following address: http://security.arizona.edu/phishing .

The Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) operated by the FBI is http://www.ic3.gov/default.aspx

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