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Telephone and Email Scams Target SUNY Schools

To:           Purchase College Community

Subject:  Telephone and Email Scams target SUNY schools

As the academic year gets underway and everyone is scrambling to get settled in, please remember there are folks out there with bad intentions who seek to take advantage of this harried time of year to engage in identity theft and financial crimes.

Today we heard from other SUNY campuses whose students are receiving phone calls impersonating SUNY Admissions representatives where the caller asks for credit card numbers and other sensitive personal information. Payments to the College are processed through secure online payment gateways, and College representatives will never call to ask for that information. If you receive a call like this - hang up - and do not provide any information to the caller.

Earlier this month we experienced a wave of phishing email - most of which were pedestrian and easy to spot. However, some of these actors are getting more sophisticated, and we all need to be on the lookout for anything that seems amiss. Stop and ask yourself - are you actually expecting a delivery, an invoice, an evaluation, or whatever the “hook” is from this sender?  Compromised accounts are often used to distribute these phishing messages, meaning you may know the sender. Therefore, ask yourself if the message is out of character - or out of context.  If you smell anything phishy, close the message and ask the sender about its authenticity.

Many phishing emails contain links that claim to be Purchase College links, but are not, and lead to pages that look like Purchase College services - but are not. To verify the authenticity of links in email, hold your mouse pointer over the link to see if it is really “purchase.edu” addresses . Be sure to verify that they are not “.hu” or “.ru” or another address from a foreign country. If you have any doubt, it is always safer to just open your browser, go to www.purchase.edu, and navigate to the service you want to use from there.

The College does not ask you to “confirm your credentials” under threat of having your account shut off. The College does not call to ask for your SSN, or your credit card, or other sensitive personal information. If you get calls or email threatening your email access, your financial aid, or anything else - stop and contact that College unit directly.

These scams are not unique to Purchase College, or to SUNY, or to higher education. We are living in an extraordinary environment of”fake news” and manipulated media that demands critical thinking and independent assessment, which are among the life skills we seek to impart here at Purchase College.