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Feb
18
Warning about Tax Related Identity Theft
Posted by Jo-Ann Guilmett on 18 February 2016 10:35 AM

Please be advised that our ITS counterparts at UNH report that they are currently investigating cases where UNH personnel – both faculty and staff – have experienced Identity Theft related to tax filing. 

At this time, ITS is not aware of any PSU individuals impacted by current year Tax filing related Identity Theft.  Even though this is the case, we wanted to pass along this information so you can be more aware of what to do if you find yourself in this situation. 

The best prevention starts with vigilance, here is a reputable source of information:

https://www.irs.gov/uac/Newsroom/Tips-for-Taxpayers,-Victims-about-Identity-Theft-and-Tax-Returns

Tax related identity theft is typically found only when a person filing their taxes is notified by the IRS that a prior filing for that tax year has occurred claiming a refund.   A similar investigation performed by UNH in 2015 found no correlation in circumstances, past associations with organizations with known data breaches, use of specific tax filing methods or involvement of significant others.  There is no evidence of any breach of USNH or UNH data that may have contributed to this situation. 

It should be noted that, nationally, on the order of 8% to 10% of taxpayers may have been affected as reported by IRS and FBI sources in 2015.  If you or someone you know has experienced tax related identity theft, ITS recommends the following actions, some of which you may have already taken, to reduce your risk of additional financial loss or further identity theft:

  • Report your loss to the IRS and your local Police Department
  • Obtain and monitor credit reports for at least one year; free reporting is offered by the three major credit companies and can be requested at the website (www.annualcreditreport.com)
  • Create a credit lock or freeze; for more information see the Federal Trade Commission webpage at (http://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0497-credit-freeze-faqs)
  • Use the free service from the IRS to create a tax filing PIN at the IRS website (http://www.irs.gov/Individuals/Electronic-Filing-PIN-Request)
  • Contact your insurance agent to see if your homeowner’s or renter’s insurance policy offers identity theft protection.
  • Ensure your Social Security Number and other financial information is not stored on your computers, both work and personal. For PSU owned computers, use Identity Finder to locate and remove such information. 

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact the Help Desk.


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Feb
2
Please be ALERT for Phishing Attempts
Posted by Jo-Ann Guilmett on 02 February 2016 09:18 AM

During the last week, many of you have been tricked into providing your account password to an unauthorized party (aka have been Phished).  When an un-authorized entity has your username and password, they have access to everything you have access to.   This includes your email, course material and and any other information available to you in MyPlymouth.

Please be aware that Information Technology Services (ITS), upon discovery of a phished account, will shut it down to preserve the integrity of PSU systems and data.  It will typically take 24-48 hours to regain access to your account depending on day of week and IT workload. 

Please review the TIPS below to avoid being Phished:

  • Take the time to read messages completely and make note of bad grammar.
  • Check to see where a URL *REALLY* takes you before clicking on it (hover your cursor over it to see where it goes).
  • Be suspicious of anything taking you to a login page.   Is it really at PSU?  Again, check the URL.
  • Be suspicious of message which attempt to create a sense of Urgency.  
  • Be suspicious of any message asking you to confirm or verify your account.

If you have questions or concerns about the legitimacy on any email. please contact the Helpdesk at 535-2929.


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Jan
13

On Monday January 18, between 6:00-7:00 am, Information Technology Services will be performing an upgrade in order to increase the security of PSU’s mission critical data.  The outage is expected to last no more than 15 minutes. 

During the upgrade myPlymouth and its related services will be unavailable to all users.  This includes many of the web applications that are usually accessed via myPlymouth such as myMail (Zimbra), the myCourses tab (Moodle & Mahara), and the Services tab (Student Banner, Banner INB, Course search). 

We appreciate your patience as we work to improve our campus technology services.  We know that there is never a good time to take down these critical services.  If you have any questions or concerns, please contact the Help Desk for assistance at (603)535-2929.


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Sep
8
Cyber Scams targeting Students
Posted by Jo-Ann Guilmett on 08 September 2015 08:13 AM

University Police has alerted us to an email scam that is actively being targeted to students.   These scams typically promise an attractive weekly salary for doing some relatively easy tasks. 

There is usually a catch, they will send you a check that you are to deposit then keep a portion for yourself and then carry out some activities with the remainder.   Since the check was bad to begin with, you wind up doing the activity (which usually involves paying money or buying goods/services for a 3rd party) using YOUR money!

By the time you realize, it is too late and they have YOUR money. Please remember, if it seems too good to be true, it probably is a SCAM.

Please protect yourself. If you happen to get a message like this, delete it right away. If you believe you have fallen victim to this type of cybercrime, please contact University Police.


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Apr
20
Tax-related Identity Theft on the Rise
Posted by Jo-Ann Guilmett on 20 April 2015 08:21 AM

As you have probably seen on the news, identity theft is on the rise, and PSU’s HR and ITS offices have recently been made aware that a very small number of the PSU community members have become victims of tax-related identity theft.  “Tax-related identity theft is when someone uses your Social Security number to file a false tax return claiming a fraudulent refund” (irs.gov). What we are seeing at PSU is not an isolated incident, but sadly, represents a significant national uptick. According to the IRS, the number of fraudulent return filings has been growing over the last few years. The General Accounting Office now reports that over 5 million fraudulent returns were submitted for tax year 2013, and 2.9 million of these were tax-related identity theft. Of the 122 million taxpayers in that year, 2.9 million represents 2.3% of the population. They expect the number for tax year 2014 will be far higher. PSU has been making an examination of our own systems, we have been working with the Information Security Office at USNH, and we have contacted cyber-security experts with the Office of Homeland Security. At this time, we have no indications that any PSU or USNH system was breached.

Knowing that you are not alone in this is of little comfort after it has occurred.  

What should I do to prevent this?

We have reached out to the Department of Homeland Security and looked at IRS publications and have identified the following preventative actions you can take:

·       Submit your tax return early

·       Be careful of email messages claiming to be from the IRS or from a tax preparer (TurboTax, H&R Block, etc..) as they might be phishing

·       Protect your computers by using firewalls, anti-virus software, update security patches and change passwords for any internet account on a regular basis.

·       Visit the IRS site for more information  (http://www.irs.gov/Individuals/Identity-Protection)

What if I have already fallen victim to Tax-related Identity theft?

·       File a police report with your local police department.

·       Follow the instructions provided in the IRS notice.

Refer to the IRS publication for  further actions (http://www.irs.gov/uac/Taxpayer-Guide-to-Identity-Theft)


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Apr
9
MyPlymouth and related services will be unavailable on Sunday, April 12, 2015.
Posted by Jo-Ann Guilmett on 09 April 2015 10:12 AM

This Sunday April 12, 2015 Information Technology Services will be doing maintenance on several of the databases that host our PSU Banner and Single Sign-on Services.  The work is scheduled to occur during the weekly maintenance window, and is planned to be complete by 8am.

myPlymouth and its related services will be unavailable to all users beginning at 4 am. This includes the web applications that are accessed via myPlymouth such as the myMail, myCourses tab (Moodle & Mahara), and the Services tab (Student Banner, Banner INB, Course search).

We appreciate your patience as we work to improve our campus technology services.  We know that there is never a good time to take down these critical services.  If you have any questions or concerns, please contact the Helpdesk for assistance. 


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