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You may not think that this type of post belongs on a nursing professional development blog but cybercrimes are a BIG deal and and it’s everyone’s job to stay vigilant with our personal information and the personal health information of our students and patients. IU School of Nursing’s own Cindy Hollingsworth has written an excellent article for you to read and share.
Take it away, Cindy!
Cybercrimes are the stuff movies are made of. Remember Angela Bennett (Sandra Bullock) in The Net (1995) who had her identity stolen? Or Sandy Bigelow Patterson (Jason Bateman) whose identity was stolen by Sandy Bigelow Patterson (Melissa McCarthy) in Identity Thief (2013)? Funny stuff, until it happens to you, and it is occurring to more and more people these days. CNN Money (2014) discussed a report from Javelin Strategy & Research that found identity fraud occurs every two seconds (Insurance Information Institute [III], n.d.) and impacted 13 million people in the US in 2014 (III n.d., Pascual, Marchini, & Miller, 2016). We often think that identity fraud occurs because someone keeps a carbon copy of your credit card imprint or rummages through your trash looking for documents with your Social Security number. Unfortunately, those committing fraud no longer have to do so much physical work; they simply go phishing.
The Federal Trade Commission (2011) defined phishing as people who impersonate others in order to trick them into giving up personal information. These scammers are sophisticated (and becoming more and more so) in their attempts to separate each of us from our assets; it requires each of us to be ever vigilant to avoid becoming the next victim.
Most of us are targeted by phishers through our email. We tend to get a lot of mail and of it junk; couple that with our busy schedules and we tend to skim our emails rather than reading carefully; this causes us to not exercise as much caution as we should. We are now living in the perfect storm for a great phish harvest.
So what are the earmarks of a phishing scam? Phishers create emails that appear to come from legitimate sources and embed within them hyperlinks hoping you will click on the link. When you do, your browser takes you to a site that again appears to be legitimate (a spoofed site) and presents enough alarming sounding information to bait you into completing information that will allow the fraudsters to access your accounts or to begin the process of stealing your identity. There are even YouTube videos that teach individuals how to build a fake login page (Cols, 2015).
How are you supposed to know what to avoid?
Here are some tips:
We’ve talked about email phishing attempts, but many scammers still rely on the “old fashioned” way – the telephone. Whether you talk to the person directly or they leave you a voice mail message, remember that legitimate business should never ask you to supply personal information such as social security numbers, account numbers, passwords or passphrases – they already know that information. If you are the recipient of a phishing attempt, immediately report it to your business’s IT department; they may ask you to forward the message to them.But let’s say it was a sunny day and your mind was at the beach, and the bait was thrown right in front of you using a bright shiny lure and without thinking about it, you took the hook. Not only did you click the link, but you gave them the information they asked for.
Don’t try to out-think the fraudsters. When we figure out one method they use, they’ve already figured out a dozen new ways to trick us. As we move into more and more electronic activities, these activities become more and more prevalent. Be cautious and alert; read carefully. Learn to live with a healthy amount of cynicism. If it feels fishy, it probably is. Move to the other end of the pier.
Cynthia D. Hollingsworth, MS, BS, AAS | Coordinator of Instructional Design
ELITE Center – Encouraging Learning, Innovation & Technology Excellence
Adjunct Assistant Faculty, Dept of Community & Health Systems
Indiana University School of Nursing
CNN Money. (2014). Identity fraud hits new victim every two seconds. Retrieved from http://money.cnn.com/2014/02/06/pf/identity-fraud/
Cols, M. (2015). How to create a fake login page |EASY & FAST|. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g9reBVmu6eM
Insurance Information Institute. (n.d.). Identity theft and cybercrime: The scope of identity theft. Retrieved from http://www.iii.org/fact-statistic/identity-theft-and-cybercrime
Pascual, A., Marchini, K., & Miller, S. (2016). 2016 Identity fraud: Fraud hits an inflection point. Retrieved from https://www.javelinstrategy.com/coverage-area/2016-identity-fraud-fraud-hits-inflection-point
Federal Trade Commission Consumer Information. (2011). Phishing. Retrieved from https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0003-phishing
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