Security

Urgent

Student Phishing Alert: "Can you do me a favor" Gift Card Scam

OIT has seen an increase in phishing email messages designed to trick recipients into purchasing and sending gift cards to the scammer.

These scams typically:

  • Impersonate a campus colleague with authority, such as your professor or academic advisor, as the sender.
  • Include the person’s name and/or “UNLV” in the email address, but come from free services (e.g., john.smith.unlv@gmail.com)
  • Ask if you are available or can do them a favor. This confirms your email is valid for the scammer. If you reply, they will respond back with a second email, often saying they are someplace where phones are not allowed and then asking you to send them gift cards by sending pictures or typing in the gift card redemption code.

ORIGINAL MESSAGE:

From: John Smith
Date: April 27, 2020 at 2:10:52 PM PST
To: jsmith99@unlv.nevada.edu
Subject: Important task

Are you available?
Please I need your assistance urgently.

John Smith
Associate Professor, Chair

IF REPLIED TO:

From: John Smith
Date: April 27, 2020 at 2:15:52 PM PST
To: jsmith99@unlv.nevada.edu
Subject: Important task

I'm in a meeting right now, and phones are not allowed to be used during meeting. I want you to help me out on something very important right away. Can you help me get an iTunes Gift Card from the store right now? I will REIMBURSE you back today. Let me know if you can be able to help me with that right now. I will REIMBURSE YOU BACK TODAY.

John Smith
Associate Professor, Chair

If you have received messages like these, do not respond. Delete them immediately.

Once sent, gift card information cannot be canceled and typically the funds are spent before you can contact the authorities.

How to protect yourself:

  • Check the “From” email address is actually sent from a @unlv.edu or @unlv.nevada.edu account.
  • Regardless of the sender, never enter personal or payment information on a website opened from an email or in reply to an email.
  • Contact the alleged sender in some way you know is valid, such as sending a new message directly to their UNLV email address.
  • Do not reply to emails or call numbers from an email that you are not sure is legitimate.

You can also forward emails to the IT Help Desk at ithelp@unlv.edu for assistance.

To learn more about phishing, including how to identify messages and protect yourself, visit the campus cybersecurity website. For a list of known phishing messages sent to UNLV accounts, visit the Smart Computing Phishing Alerts page.

Audience:

Related Content

Security

Normal

Please reconfigure eduroam if you have had recent connection issues eduroam may need to be reconfigured due to expired security certificate

Security

Normal

Sophos To Replace Symantec Antivirus Sophos Antivirus will replace Symantec Antivirus on Tuesday, April 16.

Security

High

Beware of phishing, protect your account with 2-Step Verification OIT recommends taking steps to help protect yourself from phishing and other scams.