FBI Portland
Portland Media Office
(503) 460-8060
November 19, 2019

Oregon FBI Tech Tuesday: Building a Digital Defense Against Calendar Fraud

Welcome to the Oregon FBI’s Tech Tuesday segment. Today: building a digital defense against calendar fraud.

Yes, calendar fraud. For some, the chaos of the modern world can only be tamed by a color-coded calendar with every meeting, dinner plan, and sports practice neatly posted. It’s technology’s promise that if you document every work, family, friend, school, and sport obligation online, you might just make it to Friday.

But with every tool comes a threat. In this case, the threat is an oldie-but-goodie – a phishing attack. It is the delivery method that is new.

Scammers have started sending online users calendar invites. In many cases, the calendar’s default settings allow the invitation to simply appear on your account. The fraudster could be offering you a prize or an invitation to some special, swanky event. Just click on the link and you can register...or click, put in your credit card number, and you are on your way to winning the jackpot.

Of course, these are fakes. At the very least, the sender is able to access your bank account; at most he’s loaded malware onto your device and now has access to all of your passwords, personal info, and more.

How do you protect yourself?

  • Never click on a link or open an attachment – or in this case a calendar invitation – that you aren’t expecting or is from someone you don’t recognize.
  • Report calendar phishing attempts to the calendar service you use. That will help the providers block such spam attempts in the future.
  • Set your calendar permissions so that invitations do not automatically load in your system. Do a simple Internet search to find out how to increase the security settings for whichever calendar option you are using.

As always, if you have been victimized by a cyber fraud, be sure to report it to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center at www.IC3.gov or call your local FBI office.