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IT Alert: Phone Scam Calls 

IT Alert: Phone Scam Calls 

 

IT Services has been made aware that a member of the College Community received a Scam Phone call; from a College phone number (phone number was spoofed as Campus Safety’s phone number). The scammer had access to certain specific information that is displayed on the College’s public website www.mercy.edu.  

 

Phone Scams

 

Due to COVID-19 Phone Call Scams have increased drastically over the past few months. In some scams, the scammer will act friendly and helpful. In others, they might threaten or try to scare you. One thing you can count on is that a phone scammer will try to get money or your personal information to commit identity theft. Please be aware and never disclose personal or financial information. For more information on Phone Scams please see FTC.gov website, click here

 

A few tips from the FTC website

  • There is no prize: The caller might say you were “selected” for an offer or that you’ve won a lottery. But if you have to pay to get the prize, it's not a prize.
  • You won’t be arrested: Scammers might pretend to be law enforcement or a federal agency. They might say you’ll be arrested, fined, or deported if you don’t pay taxes or some other debt right away. The goal is to scare you into paying. But real law enforcement and federal agencies won’t call and threaten you.
  • You don’t need to decide now: Most legitimate businesses will give you time to think their offer over and get written information about it before asking you to commit. Take your time. Don’t get pressured into making a decision on the spot.
  • There’s never a good reason to send cash or pay with a gift card: Scammers will often ask you to pay in a way that makes it hard for you to get your money back — by wiring money, putting money on a gift card, prepaid card or cash reload card, or using a money transfer app. Anyone who asks you to pay that way is a scammer.
  • Government agencies aren’t calling to confirm your sensitive information: It’s never a good idea to give out sensitive information like your Social Security number to someone who calls you unexpectedly, even if they say they’re with the Social Security Administration or IRS.

 

How to Stop Phone Calls from Scammers

 

  • Don’t trust your caller ID: Scammers can make any name or phone number show up on your caller ID. That’s called spoofing. So even if it looks like it’s a Mercy College phone#,government agency like the Social Security Administration calling, or like the call is from a local number, it could be a scammer calling from anywhere in the world.
  • If you answer the phone: In-case you answer the phone, and it’s a scammer trying to scare you, please hang up the phone immediately. The longer you stay on the phone, the scammer will try to obtain personal or financial information from you. 
  • Hang up: Even if it’s not a scammer calling, if a company is calling you illegally, it’s not a company you want to do business with. When you get a robocall, don't press any numbers. Instead of letting you speak to a live operator or remove you from their call list, it might lead to more robocalls.

 

IT Services is continuing to see an advanced persistent threat and increase in phishing, SMS phishing, Phone Scams and social engineering scams due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) global pandemic. Cybercriminals are using the pandemic for commercial gain, identity theft and deploying a variety of ransomware and other malware.

 

IT services advises the College community to remain vigilant. Cyber actors will use Email Phishing, SMS phishing, Phone Scams and social engineering scams to trick you into revealing sensitive information. Please exercise caution in handling any emails, attachments, or hyperlinks, and be wary of social media pleas, texts, or calls.

 

If you have any questions, please contact the Mercy College Help Desk at 914.674.7256 or helpdesk@mercy.edu.