What is a Phishing Scam?
Phishing occurs when a scammer attempts to steal information by posing as another person or organization. Most phishing attempts occur over email and target data such as username, password, financial information, or legal documentation such as a driver’s license number or Social Security number.
People responsible for phishing scams often target institutions like Wheaton College because of our size and because of our institutional identity. Some will be targeted toward specific populations such as students or employees. Sometimes, scammers even go to elaborate lengths such as incorporating the College logo, changing the send address to look like it is being sent by a college department, or creating a webpage that looks like the Wheaton website or Portal.
Phishing attempts can also happen over the phone. Be wary of unexpected phone calls, and research the caller before giving more information. Social phishing occurs when a person pretends to be affiliated with an institution in order to access confidential information or a restricted area.
Often, the scammer will contact a specific individual in person, over the phone, or via email. Because the contact is person-to-person, the target tends to be less suspicious. Always double-check someone's credentials before giving them more information. If they're legitimate, they'll understand and appreciate your caution.