Sometimes Aberystwyth computer users receive an email purporting to come from a legitimate source and sometimes it really is genuine but sometimes it’s not.
This article details some of the common scams being used on the internet.
An email purporting to be from Microsoft / your email provider
An email purporting to be from Microsoft claiming to need your Aberystwyth University email and password to help with email migration. These messages do not originate from any part of Aberystwyth University and we would never ask you to divulge password details by email or verbally under ANY circumstances. Never respond to such requests but, instead forward them to email@example.com where we will block access to the return addresses.
It’s Valentine’s Day (or your birthday, or Christmas):
You get an eCard in your email inbox from someone (how nice) but maybe if you open it, you will get more than you bargained for! Normally, to see it, you have to click through to a website which might infect your computer with a virus and expose the personal data on it, like bank or credit card details, to criminals.
Never open an e-card unless you recognise the sender's full name (some criminals use a common forename and no surname in the hope of tricking you into opening it). If you want to be extra safe, don’t open an eCard at all!
There’s been a disaster and, of course you want to help:
When a disaster occurs like the Haitian earthquake or the Asian Tsunami lots of people want to make a charitable donation to help, and unfortunately some criminals try to take advantage of this, they send e-mails and set up websites asking for donations, but your donations end up in their pockets. Worse, you've given them your credit or debit card details so they can steal even more from your account!
Look for the registered Charity number, which will be quoted, and check it out at www.charity-commission.gov.uk. If it's genuine, go to their web site directly rather than clicking through on a URL in the email.
You want a job to help you through college:
You're looking for a job online and notice an advert or receive an email describing an interesting job - the role description, company logo and website might look legitimate, but when you get to the application form, it demands enough information to steal your identity and borrow money in your name.
Check that the legitimacy of the company or recruitment organisation by doing a search online, looking for independent information confirming the company is for real. Never, ever send monies to pay set up costs for your supposed new job.
Maximizing your savings:
Savings rates are lousy nowadays but beware emails and adverts promising amazing investment opportunities and high returns. Responding to the “great offers” will not only let the criminal who set up the scam have your money, but the personal information you hand over to set up the account will expose you to the risk of identity fraud.
If it looks too good to be true, it probably is!
Retaining access to your email account:
You get a message from somewhere within the university - “The Support Team (ABERYSTWYTH UNIVERSITY)” or “The Web Team” or “The Help Desk (Aberystwyth University)” or some such; and, it is claimed, they are setting up a new email server or, perhaps, you have exceeded your quota. It suggests that if you don’t answer a number of personal questions you will regrettably be unable to continue to get access to your email.
These messages do not originate from any part of Aberystwyth University and we would never ask you to divulge password details by email or verbally under ANY circumstances. Never respond to such requests but, instead forward them to firstname.lastname@example.org where we will block access to the return addresses.
Keeping your bank records up-to-date:
An e-mail arrives looking like it's from your bank or credit card provider, asking you to verify or reset the security settings for your account. Responding by clicking through to what appears to be a genuine website you might be giving up your personal information to criminals.
Check with the company from whom the e-mail is claimed to originate by using a telephone number you know is genuine rather than using contact details given in the e-mail or on the website.