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Cybersecurity Tip of the Week – A Reminder About Gift Card Scams on Campus


This week’s tip reminds everyone about gift card scams, especially those we’ve seen on campus. No Chancellor, Vice Chancellor, Dean or department head will ever ask you to purchase gift cards for them. If you receive an email that looks like it is coming from your supervisor in this scenario, their name has been spoofed, meaning the display name for that email account is using someone on campus, but the actual email address is not a @uthsc.edu one.

People reported to abuse@uthsc.edu many different variations of these scams. The sender asks if you are available to do a favor. They usually state that it has to be done urgently (red flag), and they are not available to communicate because they are at a conference or headed to a meeting. They may ask for a cell number to continue the conversation outside our UT Health Science email, so we can’t block it. 

Stop. Take a breath. Think. This is outside normal behavior, so always be suspicious. Does your supervisor have your cell number already, so they should be asking for it? Verify the actual email address instead of just the displayed name. Most often, these come from Gmail accounts. 

Report any suspicious emails, or other correspondence, to abuse@uthsc.edu. The Office of Cybersecurity will be happy to verify any email. If you report a phish to use quickly, we can take action to minimize the impact to the university.