Cyber Advisory: Phishing and Smishing

Cyber Advisory: Phishing and Smishing
Posted on 05/10/2022
Cyber Advisory: Phishing and Smishing

 With phishing scams on the rise, the Ministry of Education is asking students and families to be extra cautious in order to avoid becoming victims of cyber-crime.

While most phishing attempts come by email, they can also come by other means. Phishing text messages (also known as SMS phishing or smishing) are fraudulent text messages sent by cyber criminals, trying to lure victims into revealing personal or financial information. Typically, these are attempts to commit fraud or steal sensitive information, or to encourage the victim to click links that will install malware on their device and steal data or damage networks. These messages can arrive by SMS, iMessage, social media platforms, and other messaging platforms. Phishing texts and email messages are disguised to look like they are sent from a trustworthy organization or person, so it is important to always use caution before responding to requests for information.

Phishing scams typically use a threat or opportunity to encourage you to click a link or call a number. Financial incentives, including government payments and rebates, contests, prizes, and giveaways are often part of the lure used by cyber criminals, as well as threats like legal action, overdue payments, or missed deliveries. 

Tips to protect yourself:

  • If a message seems suspicious based on the descriptions above, do not reply, call the number, or click on any links in the message. Clicking a link could give cyber criminals access to your information.
  • Do a web search of the phone number and message. Chances are you are not the first person to receive this message, and others have found it suspicious too. 
  • Contact the organization directly to inquire about the message you’ve received. If you believe the message is a scam, contact the organization through their official customer service number to ask about the message you’ve received. If they confirm it is not from them, delete the message.

If you think that you may have been a victim of phishing:

  • Change your passwords as soon as possible. 
  • Report the incident to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre toll free at 1-888-495- 8501. Visit the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre’s “What to do if you’re a Victim of Fraud” page for more information.
  • Report the incident to local police.
  • Do your part to block cyber-attacks. Remember to persistently practice S.E.A. – Slow down, Examine carefully and Act cautiously.

Other helpful resources:

 


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