Phishing: Not just for email anymore

The phone rings and the caller claims to be from the IRS.

You open an email that says, “We suspect an unauthorized transaction on your account. To ensure that your account is not compromised, please click the link below and confirm your identity.”

The phone rings again, and it’s a salesman offering you a great deal on toner cartridges for your printer.

What do these three situations have in common? They are all attempts at phishing – when an unscrupulous person pretends to be a legitimate business or organization to trick you out of your money or your personal information.

Several instances of the IRS scam have been reported locally. The caller tries to bully the victim into sending money to pay taxes supposedly owed and may even claim to be working with local law enforcement. Don’t be fooled. The IRS will never call you and demand payment.  The IRS website has more information about this and other tax-related scams.

The email that wants you to confirm your identity is a classic phishing attempt. Remember, no legitimate business will ever ask for your personal information in an email message. If you are concerned about your account, call the business or organization directly. Lots of information about phishing is available online. You might want to play this fun game to help you learn to identify the kind of phishing messages that are out there.

Many Miami offices have received the “toner phoner” scam calls. While the caller is not looking to trick you out of personal information, they are seeking to make money. Generally, if you “order” from the telephone salesperson you will receive a bill for an inflated price and may not even receive any toner. Read about how this scam works and how to report it in this article from InfoWorld.  

Whether it’s old-school phone scams or this week’s latest email hook, phishing is serious business. The best defense for you and for Miami is to be vigilant and question any communication that is suspicious. If you do get hooked, call the IT services support desk at 513-529-7900. They will walk you through setting everything straight.