Be cautious: Local and nationwide phishing campaigns on the rise

Sophisticated cybercriminals are using phishing emails to break into computer networks and systems, and these attacks are on the rise both locally and nationally. It is up to all of us to be vigilant when using County email and internet resources.

Never click a link in an email if you have any doubts about its origins. Scammers are experts at tempting people into clicking on fake emails, and have become very sophisticated with their cyber attacks.

Here’s what to look for when you receive an email you aren’t sure about:

  • Do not ever click on a link inside a suspicious email. If you need to change your password in any system, go directly to the website or system instead of clicking on a link in an Email.
  • If the email seems odd: Look for spelling errors and sentences that just don’t sound right, and logos or location addresses that are poor quality or incorrect.
  • Hover over a link in your browser to uncover the real destination, regardless of what the sender address in the email says.
  • Be extra cautious of emails asking for personal financial details. If the email asks you for valuable information like credit card info or bank account transfers, be wary and take extra time to ensure the email is valid before taking action.
  • Take care when reviewing quarantined emails, especially to ensure they are safe before release.
  • If you aren’t sure, don’t click. Contact the KCIT Helpdesk or call 206-263-4357 (3-HELP).
  • Watch for suspicious but predictable timing. Friday is payday at King County and that means you might see a phishing attempt email Thursday night or Friday morning. The scammers are good at timing their innocent-looking requests to “Click here to confirm your email” or remind you that “It’s time to change your password” with our direct deposits.

Thanks for keeping your eyes open, being suspicious, and never clicking a link in an email if you have any doubts. The good news is that King County employees are increasingly adept at spotting these scams and forwarding them to the HelpDesk quickly. KCIT teams block the information requests at the firewall and use other tools to reduce the likelihood that employees are caught in these phishing scams.

For more information or questions, contact the KCIT Helpdesk or call 206-263-4357 (3-HELP).