Heads Up

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Beware of phishing scams

Recently there have been phishing scams which indicate someone has shared a document with you using Dropbox (or any cloud file storage service). It asks you to click a link to open the file (see below screenshot). If you do, you’re re-directed to what appears to be a Google sign-in page (or whatever email system you may be using). If you were to use this sign-in, your email address and password would then be sent to the attacker, meaning they can now take full control of your email account and associated services (Google apps, Youtube).

What makes this scam effective is that it appears to be a valid document sharing alert. The link, however, points to an unrecognizable web address (hover your cursor over the eStatment and you will see the link is unknown). Here is a screen shot:







Here are a few things to look at which can help determine if it’s a valid alert or a Phishing scam:

  • Since you are already logged in to Gmail, because this is where you clicked onto the scam, Google will not need to ask for your password to sign-in to Drive. If you’re prompted for your password, this is a hint that something isn’t right.
  • Always look for the closed lock icon in the status bar at the bottom of your browser window, or in the web address window, whenever you enter any private information, including your password.
  • Check the email address of the sender of the message by hovering your mouse cursor over the sender name and verifying that it matches the sender name.
  • Check whether the email was authenticated by the sending domain. Open the message and click on the drop-down arrow below the sender’s name. Make sure the domain you see next to the “mailed-by” or “signed-by” lines matches the sender’s email address.
  • If your email address is in the BCC field and the TO field is blank, this is likely not a legitimate email. Phishers nearly always use the BCC field to send emails as they can then send them to multiple accounts without you seeing the other addresses it was sent to.
  • Poor spelling and/or grammar errors in the alert email, or on the sign-in page.

If you do click on the link AND enter your username and password, you should change your password immediately.

Jim LaPlante
IT Director
Upper Canada College
(416) 488-1125 ext 3326