News & Alerts

Title

Security Notice: Gift Card Email Scam

May 9, 2019
Security Spotlight New Email Scam

The University has seen a recent increase in widespread fraud emails impersonating high-ranking University personnel, attempting to coerce targets to purchase gift cards.

These messages are short, terse, and appear to come from the name of a leader using a free, non-University email account created in their name. The messages present a personal emergency need for the quick purchase of gift cards with the promise of reimbursement, often asking the recipient to scratch off and directly share the redemption code.

The messages are not sent from an official @umn.edu email address and are a phishing email with the intent of fraud. Please note, this particular scam is a current effort; it could take other forms in the future. Beware of messages from anyone asking you to do anything that is out of the ordinary, especially from non-University accounts. If in question, follow up by phone or other means to confirm the email and requests.

What you should do

If you receive a phishing message, you should:

  1. Forward the email to phishing@umn.edu. The security team will block the sender and notify the individual who is being impersonated of the situation.

  2. Mark the message as spam in Gmail (this will help educate Google’s spam filters), and delete it.

  3. Do not engage with the sender or forward the message.

More security resources