Phishing and Scams

What Are Scams?

Scams come in many forms and are a type of social engineering to either gain your personal identifiable information (PII), or steal your money. They are getting more and more sophisticated, particularly when it comes to targeting you online and through mobile devices. It’s important to know how to recognise a scam so you can protect yourself from fraudsters.

Note that KSU does not delete @kent.edu accounts and will NEVER ask for your password through e-mail, so be wary of anything that says otherwise

Please report any scams you receive to Phish@kent.edu

How To Detect a Scam?

  • Scammers pretend to be from organizations you know
  • They pretend that you won a prize or that there is a problem
  • Scam calls will usually pressure you to act immediately
  • If it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is
  • Scammers will tell you to pay in a specific way

Steps To Avoid Scams

  • Don’t give out any personal information 
  • Resist pressure
  • Block unwanted calls or messages
  • Don't click on any pictures, links, or white spaces in a suspicious email
  • Stop and talk to someone before taking action or giving out any information

Please refer to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) site to read more about common scams and how to report them. 

Current Ongoing Scam Methods... 

One of the most used scams during this time is extortion. This is done when someone is trying to get money by force, threats, or blackmailing. Most of the time, the person blackmailing will try to force the recipient into thinking that he has accessed some of their private information such as passwords or photos/videos and is willing to send it to their contacts or publish them online, when in reality, they are just trying to get the recipient to comply with their request for the money. Usually, the extortionist will have a bitcoin wallet address in the email asking for a wire transfer to them through that given wallet address. If you receive an extortion email, make sure to do the following:

  • If the email contains passwords, change the password for any account that has a similar password 
  • NEVER comply with any requests in the email
  • Report the email to Phish@kent.edu 
  • If you have been a true victim of extortion/sextortion, you can file a complaint with the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3)

To read more about this topic, please visit the FBI's Scams and Safety page for more information. 

When a victim of a phishing scam, it's common practice for the hackers to change your signatures, forwards, filters, and other settings.

  • A signature for an email is text that is automatically inserted at the end of an email. It is usually something you choose to set up and you decide when it gets inserted. Many people set it up to include their name and contact information.
  • Forwards can be set up to automatically forward to another email address. You can specify if you want all emails forwarded, or only specific kinds.
  • Inbox rules/filters can be used to automatically delete anything in your sent box, inbox, etc.

Learn how to check for these changes in the following clients:

GmailOutlook 2013 and 2016Outlook Web App