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Cybersecurity Scam of the Week – Government Grant Scams


Offers of free money from the government are usually scams. Yes, there are programs out there for government assistance in many areas, like education, home improvements, and even unpaid bills. However, these are usually run by specific agencies within the government or their representatives, not from a random email that screams phishing or a phone call soliciting you to sign up.

Any communication that asks for information or money urgently is most probably a scam. Understand that the government won’t get in touch “out of the blue” about grants. They advertise on media and expect those wanting to apply to contact them.  

If you have paid a scammer, act quickly. Notify your bank of the fraud and report any scam to the FTC at ReportFraud.ftc.gov

What has been reported to abuse@uthsc.edu this past week?

  • THE UNIVERSITY OF TENNESSEE ACCOUNT UPGRADE NOTIFICATION !!! – you just have to love all the capitalization and the exclamation points!!! This came from a compromised account from another UT campus, wanting the recipient to “CLICK HERE” to keep the account active. 
  • CAMPUS PART-TIME JOB OFFER ( WEEKLY PAY $500 ) – a too good to be true scam from another compromised account from another UT campus.
  • [Ext] RE: CONGRATULATIONS CAF FOUNDATION APPLICATION IS ACKNOWLEDGE AND ACCEPTED !!!. – this one didn’t come from inside, but an external email, but still a too good to be true offer. 
  • [Ext] Task – someone’s name was spoofed with a @gmail.com account asking to buy gift cards.
  • [Ext] REMINDER ALERT !! RENEWAL PAYMNET CHARGES PENDING (#574564 #) – another all caps Subject line that couldn’t even spell payment correctly. 
  • [Ext] Purchase copy of Norton Renewal – the Norton auto-renewal scams are still being repored.
  • Payroll – August 18, 2022 – this was made to look like it came from UTHSC, but the email originated in Canada
  • [Ext] RECEIPT ORDER|5968907|UIHGUIEHG|95869045 – another all caps Subject line
  • [Ext] Email Malfunction Notification- August 19,2022 – yeah, email wasn’t malfunctioning
  • OFFICE 365 – from another compromised account, this warned the recipient that the account was going to expire in 24 hours. A sense of urgency is always a red flag. 
  • [Ext] Send me your available cell number – another spoofed name. Wouldn’t you think they would already have your cell number if they needed it?

Keep reporting suspicious emails to abuse@uthsc.edu for examination. If you wish to report an incident to the Office of Cybersecurity, use TechConnect.