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TDS issues Web scam warning


TDS Telecom customers may have received e-mail scams known as phishing attacks or experienced e-mail delays in the past week.

“We have had at least seven phishing attacks targeted at T-D-S customers this week, since last weekend,” said Michael Ogden, associate manager of public relations at TDS, headquartered in Madison, Wis.

“It’s clogged up the system, so we’ve had delays in sending and receiving e-mails. But e-mail service has been fully restored,” he added.

Jerry Parkerson, general manager for TDS Telecom’s office in Farragut, said, “Phishing e-mails are e-mails that apparently are coming in under the guise of being from TDS Technical Support, saying that we’re having problems with your account and would you please provide us with information such as your user I-D and your password.”

Scammers can take an individual’s personal information and sell or use it. Ogden said, “It’s an annoyance, but it’s something we have to deal with and we do deal with it.

“Any legitimate company does not practice like that. They do not want you to send your personal information, like PIN numbers or passwords or social security numbers or credit card numbers, over e-mail,” he added.

Customers should closely examine e-mails that they suspect are phishing attacks. “If you look closely at these e-mails, the grammar is incorrect; there are misspelled words; the sentence structure isn’t normal, because a lot of these are created internationally,” Ogden said. Some of the recent phishing emails have come from Australia, China, Russia and Serbia.

“They come from dozens and dozens of countries, and who starts them is hard to track,” he added.

If customers come across a phishing e-mail, they should immediately delete it. “Never send your passwords or any kind of personal data through these,” Ogden said. “Never forward them … because that clogs up the system even more. If you’re really curious about it, call the

company.”

“If you do get one of these phishing emails, what you need to do is never respond, even just to say ‘take me off this e-mail list,’ because when you respond to them, they discover that ‘oh, this is a legitimate e-mail,’ and from there they try to figure out your password. And if you have a simple password, they can get into your account, turning into identity theft, and it can get really bad really fast,” he added.

“People need to create strong passwords, with upper-lower case [letters], different numbers, and confusing words,” Ogden said. “And then, don’t use that same password for every company that you deal with it. And make sure you store those passwords in a safe, secure place, because those are gold.”

“It’s crucial that people really figure this out and stop putting in their birthday as their password or something. They really have to get creative,” he added.

TDS, as an internet service provider, stops these attacks by tracking the e-mails and setting up firewalls. “We track the phishing e-mails to their origin, and usually they are international in origin, so we can’t do much about that happening, but we can protect ourselves by setting up firewalls and tracking these phishing email I-P addresses so we can flag them and filter them out,” Ogden said.

If customers have questions about e-mails that they think are suspicious, Parkerson recommends contacting the TDS internet technical support help desk at 888-815-5992.

Ogden stated that TDS was still experiencing some delays at its call centers, but that the company had staffed dozens of extra people to man the phones.

 

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