Taking Back the ID

Spear-phishing scam targets teacher identities



Judy Miller was a successful high school teacher who was known for her technology expertise. She was always eager to lead continuing-education workshops in her school district for other teachers and administrators. But she dropped her guard recently and became a victim of a new spear-phishing scam that had been targeting teachers in New York.

She realized that she'd been scammed when her bank returned one of her checks for insufficient funds. Bank personnel told her that most of her account balance was depleted from a recent unauthorized fraudulent withdrawal. Luckily, the bank reimbursed her for the loss.

The bank employee asked Judy if anyone had recently asked for her personally identifiable information (PII). She said the school superintendent had emailed the month before asking her to verify her Social Security number and bank account information because the district was upgrading its employee direct-deposit system.

Judy never suspected the request was fraudulent because she trusted the superintendent who regularly corresponded with employees via email.

This case is fictional but representative of a January spear-phishing scam reported by the Identity Theft Resource Center (ITRC).



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