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Cybersecurity – SCAM of the Week – Utility and Repair Scams Due to Weather

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Scammers took advantage of the bad weather that hit our area and other areas in our country. Reported scams ranged from fake Utility companies threatening shut-offs for non-payment to fake repair companies offering their services if you pay up front.

Utility scams

We have reported in past weeks of scammers posing as MLG&W, as well as other utility companies, stating they will disconnect utilities if payment isn’t received quickly. With the reported large hikes in Texas in utility bills, scammers have used this ploy to offer assistance in payment plans if the recipient will give their personal and banking information.

Repair scams

Many people, in many parts of the country, are dealing with weather-related repairs. There is a short supply of trained professionals to help with these repairs. Scammers are taking advantage of this in many ways, such as:

  • posing as a repair person offering to prioritize repairs if you pay now (with a credit card, banking information or gift cards)
  • posing as a federal agency offering assistance in paying for repairs – they just need your personal information

What can you do?

Use the training you have taken in regards to social engineering and phishing. Don’t react immediately, but take time to examine the conversation, whether email, text or phone call, and verify if it is legitimate. Use a second means to verify if the person reaching out is who they say they are. This means calling a company back, NOT from contact information given directly from them, but a reputable source, like a bookmarked web page.

More information about what to look for can be found on the Office of Cybersecurity’s phishing page.

What has been reported to abuse@uthsc.edu this week?

  • [Ext] Urgent Action Required – says your UTHSC mailbox is full, but the email comes from an external address.
  • [Ext] Notification… – wanting the recipient to click a link
  • [Ext] Payment Schedule Now – says the email is from “Accounts Payable”, but the email address is from the UK
  • [Ext] Uthsc Scanned File Received – says the email is from Uthsc Support (anyone affiliated with our campus would capitalized all of UTHSC), and the email is an external address
  • [Ext] Action Required – warns that a login attempt was made, and the recipient needs to click on a link to resolve the issue.  The email says it comes from “Uthsc-IT” but the email address is from Chile.
  • [Ext] Canada Powerball Lottery – wanting the recipient to open the attached PDF.

Keep reporting suspicious emails to abuse@uthsc.edu for examination and any other inquiries for the Office of Cybersecurity should be directed to itsecurity@uthsc.edu.