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Information Security Office warns of common phishing attempts

As a new academic year begins, the Information Security Office (ISO) team wants to give the Case Western Reserve University community some reminders and warnings about things to look out for, things to avoid and what to do when they receive potential phishing attempts this coming semester.

The ISO team makes every effort to set Google filters to block spam/scam attempts to university Gmail accounts. However, it is not possible to block every attempt. Moreover, threats can be received as text messages, phone calls and in other mediums. The security of each individual and the university community as a whole are dependent on continued vigilance and action from everyone at CWRU.

Review a reference guide to identifying phishing attempts (PDF).

Summer 2019 phishing trends include:

  • Unsolicited job offers—these types of scams sometimes have malicious attachments that may harm your computer if opened (i.e. filed named ‘OPEN & READ.txt’);
  • Gift card scams—no one on campus will ever ask you to purchase a gift card as a means of reimbursement;
  • Scholarship and tuition loan scams; and
  • Traditional spam emails that attempt to clog up your inbox.

Users who receive any of these types of messages should not respond or click on any links. This includes responding to the scammer in an attempt to “troll” the sender; such actions make it hard for online security staff to determine who may be falling for a phishing scam and needlessly complicate the situation.

Any of these types of messages received in a CWRU email account should be forwarded to, or the user can reach out to the University Technology Service Desk at, 216.368.HELP (4357) or