“Are You Available?” Email Phishing Scam

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Phishing Emails

A recent phishing scam has fooled a small number of people at Boise State. Many individuals have reported receiving an email from someone impersonating a supervisor or University executive asking for a reply, or attempting to start a conversation.

Here is an example:

From: [University email address]
Subject: ARE YOU AVAILABLE
Date: December 05, 2018 at 9:37:12 AM MST
To: [Your email address]

Are you available?

While this email is simple and doesn’t have any malicious attachments, it is using social engineering to get a response from an unsuspecting recipient. However, the sender’s actual address doesn’t match the Boise State email address.

Once someone interacts with this type of scam, the sender makes up an excuse about being in a meeting and wants the recipient to do an important favor as soon as possible. An example of a requested favor is for the recipient to purchase iTunes gift cards, scratch off the back to reveal the codes, and send back a picture of the cards and codes.

Avoid Becoming a Victim

Always check the actual address of who the email is coming from. Many times scammers will use a similar name, or try and add “BoiseState” in the address to trick you.

One important item to look for is what comes after the “@” symbol – this is the domain part. Domains listed with @yahoo.com, @aol.com, @gmail.com, or @hotmail.com are not university email domains, and you should exercise caution before responding to these emails.

If you are using a mobile device, sometimes the actual full sender’s email address does not automatically display. You can check the address by clicking on the “Details” link. This is usually located at the top of the email with the sender, recipient, and date information.

All mobile devices and mail apps differ so it’s best to confirm how your application allows you to view message details.

Our Help Desk is available to assist you if you have questions or concerns about any email you receive. Contact the Help Desk at (208) 426-4357, email at helpdesk@boisestate.edu, or chat online.