The deadline for renewing our State psychology licenses looms large this week. Husband and I sent in all our papers and fees for renewal a couple of weeks ago.  Imagine Husband’s surprise yesterday when he received two  notifications from “Google ” telling him that he had better renew his license immediately, along with a link to do so.

I am happy to report that Husband didn’t fall for this apparent phishing attempt.  He had already received confirmation from  our Psychology Board office that everything was in order, and that any communication from the Board was directly from the Board, not from Google.  I contacted the Board office to report this scam attempt.

It amazes me how clever scammers are. It also surprises me how easy it is to fool people. Our State Government IT office sends State employees fake emails at work to try to teach us to spot suspicious communications, and a special button to click to report an email as either fake or suspicious.  It is pretty easy to spot them, I think.  Our agency IT guy told me, though, that 50% of the fake emails are actually opened by staff who don’t suspect a thing or are too trusting.  That is a big concern given how devastating it would be to have our system, with all our clients’ confidential information hacked or compromised.

I hope none of my fellow psychologists are duped by these phishers.  It is an anxious time around the renewal period, and anxiety makes it hard to be wise sometimes.

What are your experiences with scammers or hackers?  How do you keep yourself safe?

17 thoughts on “Phishing”

  1. Several years ago when I was living in Saint Paul I was shocked to find that my bank account was empty. It should have had several thousand dollars, but instead it was officially overdrawn.

    Shocked, I could only remember one person who had handled my card, a bagger at my grocery store. But after a few calls I learned that my card had never been compromised. Instead a fellow in Boston had contacted my bank to say he was Stephen Grooms and he’d lost his card. Wells Fargo cheerfully mailed him a duplicate, and the scammer quickly exhausted the funds in one day of mad shopping around Boston. I know he bought an iPhone at the Apple store.

    Wells Fargo was sheepish about this, as indeed they should have been. The same guy had pulled the same stunt with them a few months ago. They restored my funds but they could never restore the faith I had in them.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. The “IRS” calls me at least once a month threatening to put me in jail. On one occasion, I made the return call and the guy answered saying, “May I help you?” to which I replied, “No! No one can help me!”
    He quickly hung up but not before telling me to go “reproduce” (insert f bomb here) myself. I laughed and the call was over.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. It would be fun to return the call and identify yourself as the IRS. Ideally there would be some entertaining confusion. I suspect though that the call would progress about the same way yours did.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. I once almost wired $3000 overseas to help what seemed like a traveling friend in dire straits. Luckily I reversed course in time to not lose the money. Since then I’ve become very watchful and cautious, and try to alert others to what might be phishing and scams.

    It makes me sad that people are this greedy and/or desperate for money.


    1. I’ve gotten a couple of those emails over the years. In every case, though, the message was so out of character with the purported sender that I was immediately suspicious.

      It disturbs me that your contact list is accessible from the outside so that not only scammers can send messages to your contacts in your name without you knowing about it but also supposedly legit entities like facebook and linked in can do it as well.


      1. I’ve had a couple of these, but as in Bill’s case, they were so out of line with what I knew my friends would do that I knew, immediately, they were hoaxes.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. It’s the phone calls that bug me. For a while I got this recorded phone call that did a pretty clever trick to make you think that it was a real person on the phone.
    Me: Hello?
    Recording: half a moment of silence
    Me: Hello?
    Recording: Oh! I didn’t hear you at first! (Giggle) Sorry about that! (Spiel then begins without pause and taking no notice of interruptions…)

    We’ve also had the “you better get an attorney, you’ve been accused of a felony” calls. At first they strike fear into your heart, but then they just become annoying.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. It used to be that when the phone rang, you would answer it because it was someone you knew calling with something you probably wanted to hear. Now I never answer the phone unless I recognize the caller or the number on my caller ID. Only a small percentage of the calls are ones I want to answer. Allowing phone solicitations and robocalls has all but destroyed a basic system of communication.

      Liked by 3 people

  5. my life has been lived in the midst of scammers and hijackers
    when i get sales up to a level that is way beyond expectations instead of saying thank you and figuring out how to make it even better the people in management got jealous and decided to take away the deal
    i am so amazed that these companies didn’t get it or maybe they were so good they knew when we began what they wanted and once they got it they moved on to the future they had envisioned i was inserted to accommodate

    1st wife same deal

    scammers age bloodsuckers who have no souls

    i have fish

    there are fish that are just evil psychopaths
    it’s hard to miss in a fish tank. there is a yellow fish on my desk who lives in solitary because he kills everything he comes in contact with

    bloodsuckers are hidden in a way that makes them invisible and able to pop up everywhere unannounced and without consequence

    every call trying to take a poor old grandmas savings account by deciept should be dealt with by following relentlessly until they are caught and then having a consequence that fits

    a collar that makes all electronics and radio waves go away for 5 years

    no interaction without a big up front sign around their neck saying i am a grandma robber and a bloodsucker

    it would be a deterrent to future bloodsuckers an absolutely marvelous way to create true remorse and a premise that would make scammers and hackers a costly choice

    russian hackers (bank robbers, credit card stealers and identity thieves know they’ll never get caught or dealt with so why not

    if instead there was a huge consequence it would be different

    slime balls exist because it’s easier than working hard at it

    the problem with democrats trying to fix the world vs conservatives trying to cut off all possibilities at providing help because jerks take advantage is that years of work to go forward get cut with one ugly step back

    judges were not okd for the last years of obama’s presidency and the day the conservatives they plugged in enough ultra conservative judges to make law suck for years and years

    slime ball tactics are do much a part of our lives we ought to walk around with armor on

    i don’t like armor

    i’m more a tee shirt and birkies kind of guy

    i get screwed more often than (insert inappropriate punchline here) but i can’t go into a shell

    people will screw me and bill gates and anybody who tries to do it nicely unless there is a layer of protection

    i’m not as good at protection as i should be

    too bad you even have to think about it

    the powers that be sure could make a more sincere effort at plugging the holes but where’s the re election theme in that?

    vote for me
    ill drain the swamp

    slime ball…


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