Fraudulent Email Campaign – ‘Send me your available cell number’ October 21, 2020, 10:47 PT

 

This week we’ve seen fraudulent emails with the subject “Send me your available cell number” targeting UBC email recipients.  The email impersonates a UBC employee usually a dean or director.  Do not respond to these fraudulent emails.  The sender is trying to move the communication channel from email to SMS so UBC can’t put in any protective measures in place to stop the communication from continuing.

 

These emails can look very convincing  when viewed from cell phones since the sender’s email address is not viewable.  Generally, these emails are sent from Gmail accounts set up for this specific fraud.

 

The communication will likely end up being the gift card scam where the sender asks the recipient to go and buy a certain number of gift cards (iTunes, Steam, Amazon, etc) in specific denominations, scratch the back of the cards then send pictures of the back of the cards to the sender. The sender will always be unavailable to discuss the request via phone or in person and promises that the email recipient will be reimbursed for the gift card purchase.

 

Similar emails that are more targeted, usually to someone in a finance role, are where the sender attempts to get the recipient to arrange a fraudulent wire transfer.

 

We recommend that where a financial transaction (even gift cards) is being requested to always get confirmation by asking the sender in person or via phone (UBC phone number or cell phone (if known)) before acting on the request. Do not ask the sender for alternate contact info for verifying the request. The same vigilance should be taken before giving out your own personal information including your cell phone number.

 

If you receive any one of these emails, please forward it as an attachment to security@ubc.ca