Campus email scams ‘phishing’ for new bait


Parthenon File Photo

Students using the computers in Drinko Library. Students have been recieving a flood of “phishy” emails.

Students and faculty all across campus may be noticing a spike in the rate of “odd” emails they are receiving recently.

“This isn’t a new phenomenon,” said Jody Perry, Information Technology Services executive director. “Normally, we can get the problem under control quickly, but sometimes, big scams slip through for a little while.”

The files can come in several forms. Some students have reported getting emails that looked like they contained emails from chain retail stores and some talked about getting emails that were talking about bank information.

“I got four sketchy looking emails just on Saturday alone,” Marshall student Zoe Schreiber said. “Sure, I would love to have $800 dollars put into my bank account, but I don’t even have a Wells Fargo account, so I knew it was weird.”

The Information Technology Department said this problem can’t necessarily be fixed, but it will run its course.

“The university email system is not infected, rather the usernames and passwords are being abused,” Chief IT Officer Jon Cutler said. “Regarding when will it be fixed, we are currently working to reconfigure the campus email systems to do a better job in identifying and alerts us about compromised user accounts. We are also trying to determine how we can best detect and where possible block or quarantine confirmed fraudulent or suspicious email messages.”

The department said if someone receives an email that looks “phishy,” it suggests to not open it. If the email does get opened, the department said not give out any personal information. According to IT, the university would never ask for information because it already has it all. If personal information gets out, it will potentially spread the email virus even further.

“Anytime you get a message that doesn’t look legit, it probably isn’t,” Perry said. “Always be skeptical. Along those same lines, your bank or credit card company will likely never ask you to go to a site to confirm your information. Even if the information in an email looks legit, always call your bank first.”

When looking at a legitimate campus-sent email, IT said to look for the signatures of the sender. There will be a first and last name signature at the end of the email, a phone number for contact purposes and an official title of the sender.

IT said if someone has any concerns, they can go to the information service desk in Drinko Library to get everything straightened out.

Brooke Griffin can be contacted at [email protected].