Members of the UNCG community have recently become the target of a gift card scam. These are hand-crafted attacks where criminals impersonate a senior UNCG employee and direct the victim to purchase retail gift cards. This has unfortunately cost employees hundreds of dollars.
In this specific scam, the attacker impersonates someone you know using the correct name, signature line and a similar email address, crafting a personalized and legitimate-looking message. The attacker urgently asks your help in purchasing gift cards, such as Apple iTunes gift cards. You are asked to send photos of the cards, allowing the criminal to redeem the card’s value without possessing the card.
If someone sends you an email with an urgent news or a convincing story, pressures you to pay them by buying a gift card, like an iTunes or Google Play card, and then asks you to give them the codes on the back of the card – stop! It’s a scam. You can do the following to obtain extra verification:
- Speak directly with the person the email claims to come from. Look up the person’s directory information and give them a call. If the message directs you not to contact the sender, it should increase your suspicion about the validity of the message.
- Check the full email address on the message. These scam messages have displayed the name of a UNCG employee, but the actual email address is not a UNCG address.
- Contact 6TECH if you believe a message may be a scam, especially if it appears to be a crafted, customized attack targeted at you. Targeted scam emails are harder for an automated system to detect than traditional mass-mailing spam.
Do you have to do anything now?
ITS has taken measures to remove these particular messages from the system.
- Do NOT respond if you received one of these messages described above.
- If you did respond, you should be vigilant against additional similar attacks.
- If you receive a similar scam message, delete the email, and do not respond.
If you have fallen victim to this or another scam, you can file a report with the Federal Trade Comission at http://www.ftc.gov/complaint.
You can review other types of phishing messages an scams at the UNCG Phishing Gallery.
Read more about gift card scams at
SCAM OF THE WEEK: “The Boss Needs iTunes Gift Cards For Customers… NOW”
If you have questions or need assistance, please contact 6-TECH at (336) 256-TECH (8324) or 6-TECH@uncg.edu.