Scamming at YSU

By Jambar Contributor

Courtney Hibler

Unknowingly granting a scammer access to your computer can let them steal personal information, such as banking information and passwords.

Scams can occur through many different systems and disguises of technology.

Youngstown State University has strategies in place to handle scams coming through the university’s technology.

James Yukech, assistant vice president and chief information officer, works with associate director and information security officer, Christopher Wentz, on developing the Intrusion Prevention Strategy.

This strategy includes protection against phishing and scamming.

“I review, approve and make recommendations based on my past experiences as to the best ways to implement the strategy,” Yukech said.

Attempts to scam YSU employees don’t happen often.

“Typically it’s the user initiating the request for the product,” Wentz said. “You get that call out of the blue.”

YSU tries to minimize occurrences with scams by ordering all the ink, toner and printers centrally.

So-called toner pirates pose as a company or representative and attempt to solicit business by supplying toner. They call unsuspecting businesses and use high pressure tactics.

Information security engineer, Mickey Hancharenko, said toner purchases have to go through proper purchasing channels.

If anything suspicious is seen, such as unauthorized purchases, it will be shut down immediately.

“You can’t purchase toner on p-cards,” Hancharenko said.

P-cards are business credit cards issued to a department individual to purchase office supplies, he said.

“The p-cards contain purchase restrictions to prevent unapproved purchases from certain vendors or merchant types based on controls set by YSU Purchasing,” Hancharenko said.

Some victims fall for the scam not knowing they’re agreeing to certain terms, Wentz said.

“The issue a lot of folks will run into is they get into that cycle where they’re either signing contracts or agreeing to terms they aren’t aware of,” Wentz said. “It becomes an increasingly hard battle to get out of those agreements.”

To purchase new toner, a request must be made through YSU’s online portal set up specifically for Information Technology, Wentz said. This portal is called Team Dynamix.

“Once they are on the technology support portal they simply click ‘Services’ and find the ‘Printer: Request Toner’ link and follow the online instructions,” Wentz said. “Any response will be from YSU staff.”

Beyond toner pirates, other scammers frequently make calls for computer support. These specific scammers will often pose as a Microsoft employee.

Personal information may be stolen when allowing scammers to access the computer.

“Depending on the level of access you give that individual, they can install other applications or pieces of software to harvest personal information,” Wentz said.

This capability is given to these hackers when the victim is tricked into going to a certain website or installing additional software.

Those who receive a call from a scammer should be aware they are unsolicited.

“You won’t get a call from a [legitimate] company asking for information on your computer or infrastructure,” Hancharenko said. “Preventing scams is simple.”

If the first point of contact was not made voluntarily, the individual’s guard should go up immediately and the call should be disregarded, Wentz said.