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ORU I.T. helps students combat email scams

Over the course of the 2018-19 school year, a variety of ORU students received emails from companies promising an offer of at least $400 a month for job opportunities like pet-sitting.

Many college students are willing and eager for a well-paying job, but just how willing and eager must they be?

ORU Cyber Security is hard at work limiting the phishing, a type of fraud where emails appear to be from reputable companies and send out information to “phish” students.

They have added a new security feature in the email system called “URL Link Evaluator.” With this new system, anytime you click on a link, it will be evaluated by the Barracuda Email Security Gateway and if the link is deemed malicious, it will block access to that site. 

“Me, being the person I am, I want to make money,” said Paris Malveaux, a former ORU student and victim of the scam. “This sounded, at the moment, like a great opportunity for me so I went along with it.” 

The couple Malveaux connected with gave her rules to follow as a dog sitter at their house. Prior to accepting the job, Malveaux explained the situation to her parents, and they asked to have a business call with the company to clarify if the couple was legitimate. 

The couple was always too busy to schedule a phone conference to further discuss the terms and conditions. After many inquisitions, the couple stopped emailing Malveaux about the job, and she never heard from them again. 

“If it wasn’t for my parents, I don’t know where I would be if I truly decided to go to their house and ‘dog sit,’” said Malveaux. 

Phishing victims continue to increase, and more of these scammers are creatively coming up with different tactics to scam easy prey in hopes to take what they want.

For the wellbeing and safety of students, it is important to stay aware and alert on these schemes. Here are a few tips from ORU Cyber Security to help you stay alert and aware for cyber scammers:

  1. Check the sender’s address. Always check the sender’s email address to see if it’s legitimate. A lack of company details strongly suggests a scam. 
  1. Look for https or Padlock Icon. When entering into a website, make sure the website that requests personal information is secure. If the site is not secure, do not provide information, as it can be a case of phishing. 
  1. Be aware of manipulative words. Never respond to unsolicited emails that request personal info with the use of intense phrases like “urgent” or “final notice.”