A monthly Information Security publication for the WPI community. 

May's focus is on SUMMER SCAMS. At this time of year many people are looking for summer jobs, special outings, and vacation deals. Of course, the fraudsters are ready to exploit those searches so here are tips for cybersafe summer preparations!

In this issue:

  • Common Summer Scams & How to Avoid Them
  • Using Personal Email Is Best
  • Public Wi-Fi Risks
  • Learning with Laughter
  • Featured Videos
  • In the News &  by the Numbers
  • WPI Resources
  • Diversity in Cybersecurity
  • Coming Next Month...

Common Summer Scams

Just as ads are trying to gain your attention and money for their services, scammers are after those dollars too. Anytime you see something that sounds too good to be true, it's most likely a scam. Below are the most common types of scams people may encounter when planning how to spend their summer.

  • Employment Scams
  • Moving Scams
  • Social Media Scams
  • Ticket Scams
  • Travel Scams
Five Summer Scams to Watch Out For This Year (Identity Theft Resource Center)Better Business Bureau issues warning about increase in summer scams (ABC7 Chicago)Cyber Travel Scams (Military Officers Association of America)

Tips to Avoid Summer Scams

  • Pay by credit card, don't pay with peer-to-peer money apps or a card linked to a bank account.
  • Buy tickets from reputable websites; secure web URLs start with https and show a lock icon in most browsers.
  • When searching online, be aware that the top results are usually "sponsored" which means they are paid advertisements.
  • Don't click links from unfamiliar sources or pop-up ads.
  • Don't click links in social media ads. Use a separate search to go to the company's legitimate website.
How To Outsmart Travel Scammers This Summer (Forbes)

Using Personal Email Is Best

Many of us have our WPI email open nearly all of the time! So why does InfoSec recommend not using it for vacation planning and other personal endeavors?

  • The less you give away your WPI email address or enter it into web forms, the fewer opportunities scammers have for phishing.
  • Fewer phishing messages = safer WPI data!
When to Use Your Work Email vs. Your Personal Email (American Technology Services)

Public Wi-Fi Risks

Public wireless network connection (Wi-Fi) is used most often when people are on the go, such as in cafes, airports, and hotels. But use this service with caution to prevent bad actors from eavesdropping on your computer activity! In a study by Forbes, 40% of respondents had their information compromised while using public Wi-Fi.

Safety Tips for Using Public Wi-Fi:

Here are some reminders if you need to use a public Wi-Fi connection. Additional tips are in the Public Wi-Fi link below by Norton.

  • Use a Virtual Private Network (VPN).
  • Download all important travel information before leaving home.
  • Turn off file sharing.
GlobalProtect VPN Client Configuration (WPI Hub)Public Wi-Fi: An ultimate guide on the risks + how to stay safe (Norton)The Real Risks Of Public Wi-Fi: Key Statistics And Usage Data (Forbes Advisor)

Learning with Laughter 

Picture of Taylor Swift with text: "Cause the scammers gonna scam scam scam scam scam"

Featured Videos

How to avoid summer travel scams (News4JAX, Florida) (02:13)How to avoid summer concert ticket scams online (Today Show) (04:32)Internet scams targeting kids home for the summer (WSFA 12 News, Alabama) (02:02)

In the News

The playoffs season is a prime opportunity for scammers. Try to buy your tickets directly from the venue or a reseller who is registered with the Better Business Bureau.

Boston police issue warning about counterfeit tickets as Bruins, Celtics head to playoffs (Boston.com)

Two people deliberately double booked listings on airbnb and Vrbo for nearly 100 properties across 10 states.

2 Indicted in $8.5 Million Nationwide Airbnb/Vrbo Scam (US Attorney's Office)

Summer Scams By the Numbers

- 29,880 new domains related to holidays or breaks were created in May 2023

- 1 in every 83 of those were either malicious or suspicious

- 1 in 4 people reported losing money to scams in 2023, with a median loss of $500 per person

Beware of Summer Scams (Check Point Research)Top Scams of 2023 (Federal Trade Commission)

Resources

Resources For Traveling Abroad (WPI Hub)Preparing to Go Off Campus (wpi.edu)Policy for Travel to Higher Risk Locations (wpi.edu)Safety and Security for the Business Professional Traveling Abroad (FBI)High-Risk Area Travelers (US Department of State)

Diversity in Cybersecurity

Ashley Richardson-Sequeira, Anti-Fraud Architect 

Ashley is smiling, wearing a blue shirt, glasses with a rainbow frame and a matching bow in her hair.
Ashley Richardson-Sequeira

Coming Next Month...

Fiscal Year End Scams

  

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