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Don’t get scammed this holiday: keep these tips to stay safe online

Scams don’t wait for the holidays, but scammers do take advantage of the increased shopping and distraction when things get busy to take your money and personal information. The Office of Technology Services (OTS) has already experienced an increase in frequency and complexity of scams targeting TU. Starting next week, the number of phishing attacks is expected to rise even more– and this includes attacks against personal and TU accounts.

OTS’ Office of Information Security reminds the campus to be extra diligent during and immediately after holiday breaks. Remember, mobile-friendly screens don’t always display all information, and it isn’t always easy to distinguish a legit email from a scam on a phone.

Protect the university by following these steps:

  • Use caution when replying or clicking on links in an email especially on a mobile device. Instead of clicking, type in the website address or use a search engine.
  • Confirm there is a padlock in the URL bar, and an “s” after http (https) when prompted for login info.
  • Forward suspicious emails received in your TU account to phishing@towson.edu.
  • Use the Virtual Workspace (vw.towson.edu) if accessing TU resources remotely.
  • Faculty and staff using Duo Multi-Factor Authentication should be sure they have multiple devices enrolled to avoid potential issues.
  • Consider updating your NetID password using the Password Guidelines.

When shopping online over the holiday, protect yourself with these tips:

  • Install all recent security patches and updates, as made available by your provider.
  • Question all attachments before opening; scammers can send malware by impersonating your boss or your favorite retailer.
  • Monitor your accounts, avoid taking online surveys and don’t fall for fake purchase or shipping invoices.
  • Use one credit card to make online purchases.
  • Get information on current scams from the Federal Trade Commission and report them to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center.

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