Be alert for cybersecurity scams as the school year begins

Back-to-school photo

Watch out for typical beginning-of-the-year scams:

  • Emails supposedly containing “important information about your UC account,” or a “problem with your registration”
  • Scams specifically designed to cheat students out of money, such as scholarship scams, fake “tuition payment processors”, textbook rental or book-buying scams, housing scams, tutoring scams, gift card scams, and “personal assistant” or other part-time work-from-home scams
  • “Tech support” scams where you get a call supposedly from “ResNet” or “the Service Desk,” or even “Microsoft” or “Apple” telling you there’s a problem with your computer
  • IRS impersonators demanding that students or their parents wire money immediately to pay a fake "federal student tax"
  • Messages asking for your login information, no matter how legitimate they may look. No one other than you needs to know your passwords
  • Fake friend requests on social media
  • Fake Box or Google Doc notices

How to stay safe

The best way to avoid scams is to approach all unexpected messages, offers, and phone calls with healthy skepticism. Helpful habits include:

  1. Always think twice before clicking on links or opening attachments, even if they look like they are from someone you know. If you are not sure, contact the sender by a method you know is legitimate to confirm they sent it.
  2. If you receive a request for personal information, please verify that it is legitimate.  Remember, con artists know how to fake their identity.
  3. Protect your passwords. Make them long and strong, never reveal them to anyone, and use different passwords for different accounts. Also, use multi-factor authentication (MFA) where possible. UC Santa Barbara joins other UC campuses in implementing MFA to help the campus community guard itself against cybercrime. More information can be found here.

Visit security.ucsb.edu to learn more, and don’t forget to follow @UCSBInfoSec on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram, where you can find the most up to date information there about the events we’re hosting this school year. Thanks again, and we hope you stay cyber safe!