Advisory: Guess what? Your boss REALLY doesn't need you to buy gift cards!

(not just bosses, department heads, professors... they can buy their own cards!)

May 6, 2019
By

Joel Anderson

Guess what? Your boss really doesn't need you to buy gift cards!

Lately we've seen growth in a scam that takes advantage of the public nature of our University.
Because we are a public institution, it isn't very hard for anyone to find names of leaders - that is, managers, professors and other people of authority. And it's also relatively easy to find names of people who might report to them.

What does that mean to you? 

You might receive a VERY terse email (little more than "are you there?") coming from your boss (or professor, or department head) - at least the NAME on the email belongs to them. IF you look closely (not always easy to see if you're on your phone or a tablet) it isn't really their University email address. 

Should you reply to them, you'll learn they are in a meeting where they can't make phone calls, and, oh dear!, they forgot to get a gift for their niece. Or maybe they were supposed to have gifts for people at the conference and it slipped their mind.

You'll be asked to dash out and buy some gift cards - maybe iTunes for example - and scratch off the back and send them the numbers - don't worry, you'll be reimbursed later!

  1. it's not your boss,
  2. there is no niece and,
  3. you are never going to be reimbursed (sorry).

If you receive such a request - notify University Information Security immediately at phishing@umn.edu - we'll disable email to and from that address in our system and notify the target individual being impersonated.