An email impersonation scam is an email-based scheme designed to impersonate key officials, like Deans and Department Heads, with the hope of stealing money from you and the university. This post will focus on how to recognize an email impersonation scam and avoid becoming a victim of one.
Recognizing an email impersonation scam
- Check the “from” address line in the email: If you receive an email from a sender that you may be familiar with, always remember to check the “from” address line to make sure that the email is coming from a legitimate source. Note that the example below comes from a Gmail account, and not a Missouri State address.
- Look for generic language: Scam emails often contain generic language, that could apply to anyone receiving the message. In the example below, note the vague language.
- Understand how email impersonation scams work: The purpose behind this sort of scam is to steal money from you or the university. This is done by sending an initial email similar to the example below, and following up on any responses with an instruction to perform a fraudulent task. An example of a fraudulent task that a scammer may ask you to perform is going out to the store to buy iTunes gift cards for them.
From: Dr. Oscar Meyer<firstname.lastname@example.org>
Sent: Friday, February 14, 2018 2:45 PM
I need you to perform a quick task for me. Are you available?
Dr. Oscar Meyer
What to do if you receive a scam email
- Do not respond: If you receive an email, job offer, or request that seems suspicious or you’re unsure about, do not respond to it as it could be from a hacker looking to steal money or personal information.
- Contact Information Security: You can forward any suspicious emails you receive to email@example.com.
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