Don’t Get Hooked – How To Avoid Phishing Scams

Posted on: September 23, 2013

Information security is a top priority for The University of Texas at Austin. This includes being sure we have appropriate tools and software to protect against and mitigate cyber crime. The UT Austin Information Security Office recently reminded the campus community that we are constantly under active phishing attacks. These attacks seek to steal personal information, including financial information, and can result in identity theft and breaches of bank and credit card information.

How can you protect yourself against phishing scams? Here are some things you can do to avoid the hazards of phishing:

  • NEVER share your UT EID password with anyone. UT Austin will NEVER ask you for your password by any means of communication; your password should always remain your personal information.
  • Be suspicious of any urgent email message requesting personal account or financial information or asking you to click a link taking you to a “special” website. If you have any doubts, dont take the bait and get in touch with the institution directly.
  • Contact banks, companies and organizations you do business with and find out how they will communicate with you. Be proactive. Check their websites for information about the latest scams and how to report suspicious email.
  • Always use a secure website when submitting credit card or private information over the Internet. Check the beginning of the Web address; if it begins with “https://” rather than “http://” it is a secure site.
  • A “closed lock” security icon in the status bar of a secured browser window indicates you are on an encrypted webpage. Encryption protects information you enter on that page. Confirm the icon’s authenticity by double-clicking on the lock to display the security certificate for the site; the name should match the name of the site.
  • If you find anything suspicious on your bank, credit or debit card statements contact the company immediately to discuss your concerns.
  • Use anti-virus software and a firewall, and keep them updated. Please consult your local IT Support team or the ITS Help Desk if you need assistance.

If you inadvertently get snagged by a phishing scam there are still things you can do to protect yourself. Report any incidents to the company immediately, change your passwords, verify your UT Austin paycheck profile, and notify the authorities of anything questionable. The Internet Fraud Complaint Center (IFCC) and the Federal Trade Commission are two organizations that work to stop phishing, spam and other online abuses. Contact them if you may have been hooked by a scam.

.Please contact the ITS Help Desk if you have any questions or concerns. You can also find information about what to do if you suspect your EID or EID password has been stolen at:

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