“Please verify your mcdaniel.edu email account,” is one of the various subject lines of several dangerous emails circulating around campus.
With sender addresses like “Admin Helpdesk” this email and several others like it have tricked McDaniel account users into relinquishing important and sensitive information including user name, password, date of birth, and country or territory of origin.
Senior Stephanie Abrams said, “I received one of them a while back, but I knew that the school would never ask for my password, and that I should never ever give it out.”
According to Network Communications Systems Administrator Chris Palsgrove, these emails have been showing up over the past year, during which McDaniel has been updating it email system. Palsgrove believes this is simply a coincidence, but says that the timing has caused several students and faculty to fall for the scam.
Last spring alone, over 150 students and faculty surrendered their information, some more than once, and some offering up additional information including student ID numbers, and the last four digits of their social security numbers, said Palsgrove.
Once a student or faculty members information has been received the sender then changes the name on the account and proceeds to send the email onto everyone in the accounts address book. The biggest problem with this is that major servers such as Yahoo, MSN, and Hotmail will then block all emails sent from a McDaniel account due to the large amount of spam received by them.
IT team members contacted and gave new passwords to those that have responded to the email, and for those who could not be reached their accounts had to be temporally shut down said Palsgrove.
So how do you avoid getting caught up in this hoax?
“I can not stress it enough,” says Palsgrove, “Never give out your password. Passwords are for the user only, not us, not the bank, not Myspace, or Facebook. The school will never ask for your password.”
Other ways to check if an email is legitimate is to be sure that the email address is a mcdaniel.edu account. Although the sender may be a mcdaniel.edu account, the reply address may not be. Anyone unsure of the legitimacy of an email can also firstname.lastname@example.org for verification.