March 17, 2020

Scams target offsite workers and COVID-19 fears

This message is being sent to all UW students, faculty and staff with approval from the Vice President for UW Information Technology and CIO.

We are seeing an increase in email, text and phone scams aimed at the UW community as we all adopt new applications, tools and working conditions in order to inhibit the spread of COVID-19.

Scams that exploit fears and vulnerabilities in times of change and uncertainty are continually being adapted by cyberthieves and other malicious actors who target University and personal financial information, systems and accounts.

These scammers may:

  • Request that you provide your cell phone number or non-UW email address so their communications with you are outside any safeguards the University may have.
  • Ask you to buy gift cards or to send or receive money advances.
  • Entice you with seemingly urgent phishing messages to click on links or open documents that may lead to malware infections or the theft of your UW NetID credentials.
  • Send messages that appear to be from UW employees and offices, but are actually sent from phony or spoofed email accounts.

What you can do:

  • Be vigilant about lures in the form of emails, phone calls and texts that attempt to inspire a quick reaction or instill fear, whether it is a request to reset your account or a warning about a current news event.
  • Don’t click on links or open unsolicited email attachments without verifying that the sender is who you think it is.
  • Don’t respond with personal information to emails and texts from unfamiliar numbers and senders.
  • If you suspect an email message may contain malware or phishing, forward it as an attachment to help @uw.edu (no spaces).

More information:

  • Scams and best practices for working remotely – found in the “News & Alerts” section on the home page of the Office of the Chief Information Security Officer’s (CISO) website. (Search for “CISO ” on the UW homepage)
  • Tools and best practices for working remotely – found on IT Connect. (Search for “working remotely” on the UW homepage)

Contact us:

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact help @uw.edu (no spaces).

Links were intentionally left out of this message.