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Phishing

'Phishing' is where a scammer attempts to use social engineering techniques to encourage you to disclose personal information, account login details or financial information. They then use it as part of other scams.

Financial fraud and spear phishing

Spear phishing is similar to phishing. It also using social engineering techniques to trick you into disclosing personal or financial information. The main difference is that this is a highly targeted type of attack. The scammers will use various sources of information, including institutional and club/society web pages, to find out details of the people involved in running an organisation. They attempt to impersonate people you know and use any available information about the ways you work to make their scam appear legitimate.

How to spot fakes

Checking the sender's address might help you to spot fakes. For example, there are very few '@cam' email addresses that identify roles rather than individuals – like 'human-resources@cam.ac.uk', which, by the way, doesn't exist! There's a (staff access-only) list of them here. Remember that any email address can be spoofed, so even if it shows as being 'From' one of these addresses or an address you recognise, exercise the usual caution if the content looks suspicious to you.

You can also check our Phish Catch of the Day page, where we list examples of the latest phishing scam emails sent to University staff and students. If you receive any of these emails, please ignore and delete them.

What to do if you think you've been phished

Speak to your local Computer Office or contact the UIS Service Desk if you receive a suspicious email and want advice. If you think you may have accidentally disclosed your login details for any website or service, change them immediately to secure your accounts. For UIS accounts, you can do this at the UIS Password Management page. Similarly, if you think you may have disclosed financial information such as bank account, debit or credit card details, contact your bank as soon as possible.

 

Top tips

Tick
Do

Cross
Don't

Do treat any links in email with caution. Hovering your mouse over the link can reveal the scammer's fake link. Also, look to see if the address in your browser's title bar is different to the one you expect.

 

Don't open attachments from unsolicited messages.

 

Do call the sender if you receive a message that invites you to 'validate your password' or 'reactivate' your account, to find out if the request is genuine. Use a trusted phone number obtained from a genuine web site.

UIS and financial service providers would never ask you to do these things via an email.

Don't enter your login details, personal information or financial information into any site that arouses your suspicions.
Do ensure you have up-to-date anti-virus software installed and working on your PCs.

Don't assume that anti-virus software will always scan and detect viruses or malware in malicious links or in an email attachment.

Do be particularly vigilant if you are asked to change a payee's bank details for money transfers. Don't hesitate to ask your local Computer Officer or the UIS Service Desk if you are suspicious about the contents of a message.

 


We've created a Moodle course that contains a series of short films and quizzes explaining different online safety issues, with lots of helpful hints and tips.

Enrol in the course

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