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Protect Yourself From Phishing Scams

The Division of Information Technology is excited to provide you with the technology and support you need to make it a successful year. The safety of your information is our division’s priority. We are facing an increased number of scams and attempts to steal our passwords, banking information, and other online content. Fortunately, there are things you can do to keep your information safe. Please review these tips to protect your personal information. 

Protect Your Passwords

Passwords should be chosen carefully. The use of special symbols adds to their complexity and make it more difficult for a bad actor to gain access to your information. If you need to reset your CSUN password or have forgotten your password, use CSUN's Forgot/Reset my Password tool. 

  • Beware of emails asking for passwords or other personal information. These emails often appear to be from a trusted source -- but if you read carefully, you'll be able to detect some immediate red flags. For one, CSUN will NEVER ask you for your password by email. Banks and other businesses would not ask you either. If you receive an email requesting your password, it should be ignored and a Security Incident Report should be made.  
  • Never use public Wi-Fi to access or enter sensitive information, such as online banking or any site where you need to log in. CSUN has Eduroam which is an on-campus secured Wi-Fi that you can use safely.

Think Before You Click

Email attachments and URLs are often used to spread viruses and some of these can compromise your personal information. 

  • Never open attachments or URL links you get by email unless you are expecting them or completely trust them. Attachments and URL sites can contain harmful viruses. Remember that the sender's name can be forged or spoofed. Hovering over a suspicious URL, without opening it, will tell you where that link goes. 
  • Do not download software such as screensavers, games, or other programs from unverified sources. Even if the software is not malicious in nature, these types of downloads often include unwanted adware that affect your computer's performance. 

Update Your Devices

Keeping your devices up-to-date is the easiest way to project yourself from viruses and malware. Operating systems are regularly updated as threats are discovered. Keeping your devices up-to-date safeguards you from the latest threat. 

  • Turn on auto-updates for all your devices’ operating systems, antivirus software and apps.
  • For mobile devices, remember to sync every week so you get all available updates.
  • USBs and other external devices can be infected by viruses and malware too. Use security software to scan them when you plug them in to your laptop or desktop.

Look Out for Scams

Offers that are too good to be true, usually are. Scammers know that offers of quick cash catch your attention and they usually emphasize that "time is running out" in order to create a sense of urgency. Take a few moments to consider the validity of such offers. 

    • Be cautious of fake job offers as they can lead to financial loss, identity theft, and compromise your personal and online security.
    • Watch out for invitations to apply for a job with unusually desirable conditions (short hours, easy work, lots of money, ability to work from home), no formal interview process, or few details about the position. These may be frauds designed to steal your identity or gain access to your bank account.
    • Watch out for requests to send money in the form of gift cards or cryptocurrency like Bitcoin: two methods of sending money that are untraceable, and unrecoverable.
    • Invitations to apply for credit cards are a red flag as well. They can be used to obtain personal information and although the terms might sound appealing, applying could open you up to fraud.

How Can I Learn More?

On the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) website, you can read about a common scam targeting college students, where you are sent a fake check and asked to handle, transfer, or spend the money for seemingly legitimate purposes like ordering office supplies.

For more tips about cybersecurity and how to stay safe online, visit CSUN's Information Security page