Your school receives a call or an email, with a ‘seemingly helpful’ message that an external party is contacting you to fix an IT problem in your school or on your computer. They may say that they’re contacting you from a company that already provides services to your school, so the company name/email they provide may be familiar to you. Unless you can be sure that the email or phone call is genuine you may be a potential victim of an attempted scam. The motivation for scams is to gain access to your login information or bank details (pins, passwords etc.,) for illegal/fraud related financial gain.
The caller/email may say that in order to fix an IT problem, they need you to access a particular website. The website may look genuine and helpful, with familiar logos, so as to gain your confidence. They may ask you to click on a link on the website. Scam or ‘phishing’ emails usually contain a link to a malicious fake web page, which is used to capture your login details. Don’t click on any links or open attachments. Scammers may ask you to download a software update to your computer to ‘fix’ a problem. Once their software is activated on your computer, the main damage could already have been done.
If you suspect that you’ve been the victim of such a scam, take the following steps.
1. Turn off your computer immediately.
2. Disconnect the computer from the school network by plugging out its network cable.
3. Contact your Bank and Credit Card provider for your school accounts. Explain what has happened and follow their advice. Ask if you need to cancel or freeze your accounts/cards.
4. Contact your school IT support company and inform them that you may have been the victim of a scam. Explain what took place, and follow their advice.
5. If you have the phone or email details of the potential scammer, report these to the Gardai.
Other Important Points
1. Never reply to suspected spam/scam emails
2. Always use ‘strong’ passwords and never use the same password for multiple websites
3. Never disclose login details, passwords, PINs, bank or credit card details to other parties
4. Keep your computer’s operating system, email application and web browser up to date
Some relevant website links: