Phishing Awareness

Scammers are known to send messages that exploit the urgency of predictable events, such as tax season and the start of the school year, to more easily fool recipients into engaging.  They use varying tactics to hook a target, such as mimicking official university communications or offering lucrative part-time jobs.  Victims are typically lured to other websites where their credentials or other sensitive information are stolen.  The “Are you available” scam is a common phish.  This is when the sender impersonates a person in a position of authority, such as a faculty member, and initiates a conversation with that seemingly innocuous phrase.  If the recipient responds, they will be asked to make a purchase (typically of gift cards) and then to reveal the codes or other financial information.

We typically see an increase in the number of phishing messages now.  While many are savvy at detecting phishing messages, others, especially new students, are less accustomed to these ploys and are more vulnerable.  You can help them protect themselves and their data by better understanding phishing and its many forms.  The ITS Security Office has several helpful articles at with more details about the various scams, ways to identify them, and what to do if you receive one.