Phishing Scam

By Cassy Sottile and Erica Quinones

News Editors

As more people rely on the Internet for work, school, and just life, not everyone is working to make life easier. 

The Federal Bureau of Investigation announced in an April 6 press release that they expected a rise in email compromising schemes due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Washington College students witnessed the reinvigoration of scammers with two recent email streams.

The same week that the FBI released their press release, two scams circulated WC emails. 

One scam’s sender masqueraded as “Mountain Dew,” a soft drink brand owned by PepsiCo. The message advertised that students could “put Mountain Dew® logo on your vehicle/bike and earn Four hundred Dollars weekly.”

This is the same scam that the Federal Trade Commission reported in December 2019, saying that if recipients respond, they are pulled into a financial free fall.

If they accept the “job” offer, they will receive a check to deposit before they are instructed to contact and pay a “specialist” to wrap the logo on their car.

Victims will continue paying the specialist money without ever receiving a logo or another check. Eventually even that first check is lost when the bank realizes it is fake, removing that income from the victim’s account.

The scam does not stop at one person. Like phishing, it encourages recipients to spread the email with a final clause, saying that “if you decide to register with Mountain Dew please put my [the sender’s] name and email address in the comment box on the registration form so I can get credit for referring you.”

“For a full year, Mountain Dew will send me a cash reward for task you complete. If you become an agent and refer your friends, Mountain Dew will send you a reward, too,” the email continues.

The second email chain’s focus was phishing, not just scamming, as the sender masqueraded as the popular website Dropbox.

According to an August 29 Elm article, phishing is the sending of emails or text messages to trick people into revealing personal information like “passwords, account numbers, or Social Security numbers,” according to the Federal Trade Commission. 

The Dropbox scam involved a one-line message saying “You’ve got 1 Doc pending to view via Dropbox” and a click to view the file. The email is signed by “The Dropbox Management.”

In that August Elm article, Director of Enterprise Applications Regina Elliot was quoted as saying that users should neither answer nor click on the phishing email or its link. Instead, they should delete the message and, if they are on Outlook, mark the message as spam.

To minimize harm done by phishing, students are encouraged to use different passwords for different sites.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *