Who Is Really Calling Me? Phone Scams

We all regularly receive email scams and have trained ourselves to be on the lookout for common traps. However, phone scams are on the rise again, and we must be careful with what information we give over the phone. Just like email scams, phone scams come in many flavors where scammers impersonate credit card customer service agents, law enforcement, charity groups, and the like.

Recently, members of our UChicago community have received calls from scammers who impersonate technical support staff from companies like Microsoft. The impersonator attempts to convince individuals that there is something wrong with their computers and then offers to help solve the issue. The ultimate goal is to have the victim give them direct access to their computer in order to steal personal data for financial gain! A real life sample of such a phone scam can be heard here. You can also read more about these scams on the Microsoft Community website.

To avoid such scams, ITS Security reminds you to NEVER grant anyone access to your computer over the phone unless you have initiated the call and verified the validity of the support person. Additionally, NEVER send personal information, including social security numbers, bank accounts, passwords, or PINs to anyone via email. If you must submit this information over the phone, it should be because you initiated the call, and you can verify the legitimacy of the organization.

 
If you receive such calls, you can report them to the Federal Trade
Commission
. If the scam involved your CNetID or University data, you can also report them to the ITS Security Team. If you inadvertently fell victim to a scam, immediately change all passwords that might be impacted.

For information on how to identify scams, visit the ITS Safe Computing site. If you have questions, please email ITS Security or call 773-702-2378.