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Phishing Examples

Phishing is when a scammer uses fraudulent emails or texts, or copycat websites to get you to share valuable personal information – such as account numbers, social security numbers, or your login IDs and passwords. Scammers use your information to steal your money, your identity or both. 

Scammers also use phishing emails to get access to your computer or network then they install programs like ransomware that can lock you out of important files on your computer.  

This page provides examples of the phishing emails received by the campus community at large. Each example includes the actual text used to lure the user into a false sense of security and points out why the email is suspicious. Please use these examples to educate yourself on what to look for so that you do not become a victim. 

COVID-19 Phishing Attacks

Cybercriminals are capitalizing on Coronavirus (COVID-19) to send fake email and SMS phishing attacks that could infect computers or lead to the theft of logins and personal information. CSUN faculty, staff and students should all be vigilant and not respond to unexpected messages over any communications platform, especially those which request links be clicked on or attachments be opened. Phishing attacks promise information on COVID-19 and entice users to open malicious attachments (some containing dangerous malware) and follow links designed to steal logins. Cybercriminals build their attacks around major news events and have been doing this for years. They tend to morph relatively quickly from one breaking event to another. With the Coronavirus commanding an almost unprecedented amount of coverage around the world, these latest campaigns have been nothing short of a flurry of attacks that show no signs of slowing down.

For more information visit COVID-19 Phishing Attacks.

Herff Jones Commencement Email

The email sent by Herff Jones is a legitimate email regarding commencement. Please do not give out credit card information if you have already purchased a cap and gown. Email is shown below:

From: Herff Jones < >
Date: Wed, Apr 22, 2020 at 12:03 PM
Subject: Your cap and gown is coming soon
To: <xxxxxx.xxxx.xxx@ my.csun.edu>

Dear Students, 

To make life easier during this uncertain time, we created options for you to either have your gown shipped to your home or for you to receive a refund on your purchase.

Your graduation is a reason to celebrate! We encourage you to honor this milestone by making full use of your gown; take pictures, share on social media and celebrate with loved ones.

If you would like to have your cap and gown shipped (for free!) directly to your home address, use the following link to provide us with your shipping information and then be on the look out for your cap and gown.

But if you would prefer to receive a full refund of your order, we completely understand. Please use the following link to request your refund.

Also feel free to contact our customer service team with questions at herffjones.com/contactus.

START THE PROCESS »

--- End of Email---

 For information on current news for commencement please visit Commencement and Honors Convocation.

Phishing Examples


---Start of Email---

From: xxxx, xxxxx <xxxxx.xxxx @csun.edu>
Date: Fri, May 22, 2020 at 4:47 PM
Subject: Thank You For All You Do
To: 

Dear Student,

Thank you for all that each of you have been doing to ensure we continue in the path of Student Success during this COVID-19 crisis. We have been working jointly with the California Faculty Association to add additional flexibility to student lives.

There is an on-going work from home program for all undergraduate and current graduate students. You will be working with Dr. xxxxxxx xxxxxx Psy.D., LP/. she is presently among the doctors saving lives Italy. 

Are you able to reply emails, make bill payments on his behalf, for $500 weekly? plus other free medical benefits. 

Duties are telecommute. 

If you are interested kindly send "I am interested" to the number below for more details.

(xxx) xxx-xxxx

xxxxx xxxxx, Ed.D.

Assistant Professor

Health Administration

Department of Health Sciences

California State University at Northridge

---End of Email---

How we know it's phishing.

  1. The subject line is very vague.
  2. The email contains grammatical errors.
  3. The phone number sent in this email does not belong to a CSUN department.
  4. The signature at the end of the email is oddly phrased.
  5. The subject line does not mention the main topic in the email.  

---Start of Email---

From: xxxxxxxx, xxxxxx x <xxxx.xxxxxxx @csun.edu>
Date: Wed, May 13, 2020 at 9:53 AM
Subject: Office of student success
To:

California State University, Northridge’s foundation for success includes its commitment to the principles of equal employment opportunity and affirmative action for men, women, persons of color, veterans, individuals with disabilities

There is an on-going telecommute program for all students, read more about it on the portal page (Link is disabled) and apply if you're interested.

Regards,

xxxxxxx x. xxxxxx

---End of Email---

How we know it's phishing. 

  1. The link in the email leads to an unknown website. A simple way to know where the link will take you is to hover over the link the real website should reveal itself.
  2. The name in the body of the email does not match with the name of the sender's email address.
  3. The email contains grammatical errors. 
  4. The subject line of the email is very vague.

---Start of Email---

From: "xxxxx, xxxxxxxxx" <xxxxxxxxx.xxxxx @csun.edu>
Date: May 12, 2020 at 12:27:38 PM PDT
Subject: financial aid

You may be eligible to apply for the Derrick F. Satchell Leadership Award due to the number of CSUN units you have completed and your 3.0+ GPA.

The Derrick F. Satchell Leadership Award recognizes a California State University, Northridge 2019- 2020 academic year freshmen student for his or her academic achievement and leadership, as demonstrated by involvement in student government, a club or another campus organization.

We highly encourage you to apply!

You can access the application through the portal at: https://csun.xxxxxxxxxx.com/xxxxxxxxxx/xxxx

---End of Email---

How we know it's phishing.

  1. The subject line of the email is very vague.
  2. The link in the email leads to an unknown website. A simple way to know where the link will take you is to hover over the link the real website should reveal itself.
  3. The subject line does not match the information given in the email. 
  4. There is no record for the Derrick F. Satchell Leadership Award. 

---Start of Email---

From: xxxx, xxxxxx xxxxxx <xxxx.xxxxx @csun.edu>
Date: Sat, May 9, 2020 at 6:42 AM
Subject: Spring 2020 Update
To:

Hello Colleague,

I hope your weekend is going well, I received an email about an on-going work from home recruitment for students and I thought you might be interested. Read below carefully

Are you able to work two hours a day, three times a week for $450? 

Duties are Telecommute. 

If you are interested please send "Yes I am interested"  with your first name to the number below for further proceedings.

(xxx) xxx-xxxx

Regards,

Student Recruitment Management

CSUN 2020

---End of Email---

How we know it's phishing. 

  1. The subject line of the email is very vague. 
  2. The email contains grammatical errors. 
  3. The phone number sent in this email does not belong to a CSUN department. 
  4. This department listed is oddly phrased. 
  5. The body of the email is very vague and does not give any details about the issue mentioned in the subject line.

---Start of Email---

From: xxxxxxxx, xxxxxx xxxxx<xxxxxx. xxxxx @csun.edu>
Date: Thu, Apr 30, 2020 at 11:40 AM
Subject: COVID-19 Student Stay At Home Employment
To:

Hello Colleague,

Dr. xxxxxxx xxxxxxxx is looking for competent students like yourself to work with her while she attends to COVID-19 victims in Italy. 

Are you able to work electronically for $400 weekly? If Yes, Please send your full name, alternate email and age to (xxx) xxx-xxxx for more details and how to participate.

Regards,

Prof xxxxxxx xxxx

Student Activist

CSUN 2020

---End of Email---

How we know it's phishing.

  1. CSUN will never ask for another email besides your CSUN email.
  2. The email contradicts itself. The sender claims to be a student but uses a professor's name as a signature.
  3. The name in the body of the email does not match with the name of the sender's email address.
  4. There are grammatical errors in the email.

---Start of Email---

From: xxxxx xxxxx<xxxxx @iaofmaine.org>
Sent: Tuesday, April 28, 2020 12:49 PM
Subject: Please DocuSign 2020.04.28 GG-CQ sale agt.pdf

Review document request.

---End of Email---

How we know it's phishing.

  1. CSUN does not use DocuSign for any documents. 
  2. The email does not give information regarding what document they want you to review. 
  3. The email used to send this email is not a CSUN email. Emails that do not end with @csun.edu or @my.csun.edu should be considered suspicious.
  4. The link in the email leads to an unknown website. A simple way to know where the link will take you is to hover over the link the real website should reveal itself.
  5. The subject line is very vague. 

---Start of Email---

From: xxxxxxxx xxxxx
Subject: FW: Assistant Needed Urgently!!!
Date: April 23, 2020 at 12:33:51 PM PDT
To: "xxxx @mail.cc" <xxxx @mail.cc>

Good day,

Are you seeking for a flexible part time job you can work from home and earn $500 weekly?

Warren Interiors Inc are offering Part Time/Full Time Job opportunity to Student | Staff | & Individual who are unemployed, If interested applicant should provide the following information Full Name | Phone Number | Age | Alternative E-mail to Mr. xxxxxx xxxxxxxx via e-Mail { xxxxxxxxx @xxxxx-interiors.com } for urgent details of employment.

Best Regards,

xxxxxxxx

---End of Email---

How we know it's phishing.

  1. The email address used to send the email is not a CSUN email. Emails that do not end with @csun.edu or @my.csun.edu should be considered suspicious.
  2. The name in the email does not match with the name of the sender.
  3. Be suspicious of emails that try to scare you into doing something. Phishing emails always try to create a sense of urgency.
  4. The email address used to send the email does match with the email listed in the body paragraph. 
  5. CSUN will never ask for an email that is not your CSUN email.
  6. The link in the email leads to an unknown website. A simple way to know where the link will take you is to hover over the link the real website should reveal itself.

---Start of Email---

From: California State University Northridge <xxxxxxx @uoregon.edu>
Sent: Saturday, April 11, 2020 11:53 AM
To: xxxxxx, xxxxx <xxxxxx.xxxx @csun.edu>
Subject: Payroll Schedule

You have 1 new Schedule Message

Click here to read (Link is Disabled)

© 2020 California State University Northridge

---End of Email---

How we know it's phishing. 

  1. The link in the email leads to an unknown website. A simple way to know where the link will take you is to hover over the link, the real website should reveal itself.
  2. The email address used to send the email is not a CSUN email. Emails that do not end with @csun.edu or @my.csun.edu should be considered suspicious.
  3. The subject line is vague. 
  4. The body of the email is very vague and does not give any details about the issue mentioned in the subject line. 

---Start of Email---

From: CSUN Nazarian MBA Program < >
Sent: Wednesday, April 8, 2020 4:44 PM
To: xxxxx, xxxxx <xxxx. xxxx @csun.edu>
Subject: Urgent - Requesting Letter of Reference

Dear xxxxx xxxx

This email is in regards to a letter of reference request for MBA applicant, Julia.

Julia​  has applied to Master of Business Administration (MBA) program at California State University, Northridge (CSUN) and has given your name as a reference. It would be of great assistance to us in considering the applicant if you would kindly complete this form.

Please follow this link(Link has been disabled), CSUN MBA reference form, to complete the reference form by the May 1 priority deadline.

Kindly note the MBA application will not be processed until all reference letter(s) are received. 

We thank you in advance for your contribution and welcome you to contact us should you have any questions.

Thank you in advance,

MBA Office

----------------------------------------------------

MBA and Graduate Programs 

David Nazarian College of Business and Economics

California State University, Northridge

18111 Nordhoff Street | Northridge, CA 91330-8380

P (xxx) xxx-xxxx| F (xxx) xxx-xxxx

| http://www.csun.edu/xxx

---End of Email---

How we know it's phishing.

  1. Be suspicious of emails that try to scare you into doing something. Phishing emails always try to create a sense of urgency.
  2. The email does not specify who is asking for this recommendation.
  3. The contact email listed is not a CSUN email. Be aware of any email that does not contain @csun.edu or my.csun.edu.
  4. There are grammatical errors.

--- Start of Email ---
From: xxxxxxx xxxxx <xxxxxxxxxx @alumni.com>
Date: Mon, Mar 30, 2020 at 2:59 PM
Subject: Re: Job Opportunity
To: xxxxxx, xxxxx <xxxxxxx. xxxxx. >, <xxxxxxxxx @gmail.com>

Hi xxxxxx,
 
I got your application email and approved you to work for me. I hope you will be able to carry out all tasks needed by you. I have few tasks I would like you to complete for me today. Remember your first impression really matter as this is a new employment..
 
You will make calls and reply emails on my behalf, After which you will purchase some Items at Walmart online and mail them to specific orphanage homes we supply kids materials every month.
 
Your first assignment funds will be sent through your Email(Electronic Bank Check).E-Check is simply a check delivery service that endorse and guarantee check delivery through E-mail instead of waiting for check in the Mail. No stamps, No envelopes, No going to the mail box - Just log in to your e-mail and click a link to download and print the check.
 
Once the check has been printed it can be deposited immediately. All You will only need to purchase a Business Check Paper for printing of the check, it's sold for ($23) at any Stationery store's,Office Depot or Staples or OfficeMax OR You can also order online on Amazon.com for ($19) . I will re-reimburse you for the cost of purchase. 
 
Please Note that you need a Printer OK?.
 
In order for you to receive your fee, take the payment to your bank and have it DEPOSITED in your bank account for funds to be available.You can also make an ATM deposit or mobile check deposit if it happens your bank is a little but far or bank closes so that the funds can be available the next day to complete the assignment on time. Once funds are Deposited I will send you the Instructions on what you are purchasing at Walmart and bill payments to be completed.
 
 
Best Regards,
xxxxxx xxxxxx

From: xxxxxxxx, xxxxxxxxx x  <xxxxxx >
Date: Mon, Mar 30, 2020 at 10:17 AM
Subject: COVID-19: Student daily update
To:

Dear Colleague,
As the response to the COVID-19 pandemic continues to rapidly unfold in our communities, we recognize the importance of up-to-date information and communication to help people cope with and attend to the changing conditions. 

The University is sending this message on behalf of Tracie Graham, an alumni of csun. She is currently empowering students who can work from home since the campus is closed and earn $400 weekly. 

Your job includes helping her reply emails, receiving and making calls on her behalf while she attends to victims of COVID-19 in London. You can read more about her on the CSUN portal https://www.csun.edu/xxxxx-xxxx-xxxx-communication/cinema-television-arts/xxxxxx-xxxxx-xxxxx(Link is disabled)

If you're interested send your full name, age, alternate email and cell phone to xxxxxxxxxxx @alumni.com for further details and how to apply. 

Regards,

Professor xxxxxx, xxxxxxxx

---End of Email---

How we know it's phishing. 

  1. The contact email listed is not a CSUN email.
  2. Be suspicious of emails that try to scare you into doing something. Phishing emails always try to create a sense of urgency. 
  3. Oddly phrased subject line. 
  4. The email address used to send the email does match with the email listed in the body paragraph. 

From: CSUN <xxxxxxxxx @gmail.com>
Date: Wed, Mar 11, 2020 at 6:41 PM
Subject: YOUR CSUN STUDENT WK PROG!2020
To: <xxxxxxx. xxxxxxx. xxx @my.csun.edu>

---Start of Email---

Phishing example.

---End of Email---

How we know it's phishing?

  1. The email is a picture. CSUN will not email pictures that contain text.
  2. Email address is not a valid CSUN email address. Be suspicious of any email address that does not use @csun.edu or @my.csun.edu
  3. Be suspicious of emails with poor grammar.
  4. Oddly phrased subject line.

Job Opportunity Phishing Email Conversation 

---Start of Email---

From: xxxx xxxx <xxxxxxxxx.xxxxx @alumni.com>
To: xxxxx xxxxxxx <xxxxxxxxx.xxxxx @gmail.com>
Date:Fri, Mar 20, 2020 at 10:50 AM
Subject: Re:Job opportunity 

VersaCheck Security Business Check Refills: Form #1000 Business Voucher, Blue, Prestige - 250 Sheets .. use that search word.

Sent: Friday, March 20, 2020 at 9:28 AM
From: "xxxxx xxxxx" <xxxxxxxxx.xxxxx @gmail.com>
To: "xxxxx xxxx" <xxxxxxxxx.xxxxx @alumni.com>
Subject: Re: Job opportunity

Do I buy the customizable manual business checks with side stubs?

On Fri, Mar 20, 2020 at 9:18 AM xxxx xxxx <xxxxxxxxx.xxxxx @alumni.com> wrote:

Yes.

Sent: Friday, March 20, 2020 at 9:11 AM
From: "xxxxxx xxxxx" <xxxxxxxxx.xxxxx @gmail.com>
To: "xxxx xxxx" <xxxxxxxxx.xxxxx @alumni.com>
Subject: Re: Job opportunity

Good morning Ms. xxxx. It is great to hear that you have chosen me for the job. Thank you so much. 

So I will need to buy the business check paper before I can do today's assignment? 

Sincerely,

xxxxx xxxxx

On Fri, Mar 20, 2020 at 8:18 AM xxxx xxxx <xxxxxxxxx.xxxxx @alumni.com> wrote:

Hi xxxxxx,
 
I got your application email and approved you to work for me. I hope you will be able to carry out all tasks needed by you. I have few tasks I would like you to complete for me today. Remember your first impression really matter as this is a new employment.

You will make bill payments to orphanage homes, replying emails and receive calls on my behalf while I attend to COVID-19 Cases here in china. I hope you are not from Staples, Office depot or any stationary store.
 
Your first assignment funds will be sent through your Email(Electronic Bank Check).E-Check is simply a check delivery service that endorse and guarantee check delivery through E-mail instead of waiting for check in the Mail. No stamps, No envelopes, No going to the mail box - Just log in to your e-mail and click a link to download and print the check.
 
Once the check has been printed it can be deposited immediately.
 
All You will only need to purchase a Business Check Paper on Amazon.com for ($19) or at any Stationery stores, Office Depot or Staples. I will re-reimburse you for the cost of supplies. How soon can you get the business check paper?
Please Note that you need a Printer OK?
 
In order for you to receive your weekly pay($400), take the payment to your bank and have it deposited in your bank account for funds to be available . You can also make an ATM deposit or mobile check deposit if it happens your bank is a little but far or bank closes so that the funds can be available the next day to complete the assignments on time.
 
Once funds are Deposited I will send you further Instructions.
 
Regards,
xxxx xxxx 

---End of Email---

How we know it's phishing?

  1. There is no mention if this person is from CSUN. 
  2. There are errors in the emails sent.
  3. Notice how vague and unprofessional the ‘subject’ line is. Authentic communications would be more specific as to why they are contacting you.
  4. Be suspicious of emails that try to scare you into doing something. Phishing emails always try to create a sense of urgency. 

Coronavirus Internship Offer

---Start of Email---

From: xxxx, xxxx x <xxxxxxxxx.xxxxx@csun>
Sent: Monday, March 9, 2020 6:39 PM
Subject: Internship Work Order RM-4154 is Completed . Slot: (PA

---Start of Email---

Message from xx. xxxxx xxxxxxxx, MD

I am xx. xxxxx xxxxxxx a pediatric hematologist-oncologist in Los Angeles, California and I am affiliated with Children's Hospital Los Angeles. I received his medical degree from the University of Cape Town Faculty of Medicine and I have been in practice for more than 20 years.

Due to the high rate of Coronaviruses spreading around the world... The United States health department and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) selected some of us to protect our country from the borders and also take affected victims' info quarantine. I am currently extremely busy and won't be able to attend some of my chores and will need a Personal assistant to work for me while I am busy and away. I will pay you  $500/week. You were randomly selected by the chamber of commerce along with other students to work with several doctors around the united states.  You will only run errands like bill payments and sending emails with purchases which will mostly be electronic...In America, We will not allow this Virus at all because symptoms are typically mild to moderate.

To work with me, You must have access to the internet, and mobile to reply to a text. I will pay you $500/week .. On instruction, my accountant will make payments out to you whenever I want it done along with instructions on what to do for me. to apply, Please send your Full name | Address| Age| Mobile# and email to and I shall text you for updates...

Prevention, Treatment of Novel Coronavirus

There is currently no vaccine to prevent 2019-nCoV infection. The best way to prevent infection is to avoid being exposed to this virus. However, as a reminder, the CDC always recommends everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses, including:

Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.Avoid close contact with people who are sick.Stay home when you are sick.Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

Hope to hear from you soon.
xx. xxxxxx xxxxxxxx, MD

---End of Email---

How we know it's phishing? The email contains grammatical errors.

  1. The email contains grammatical errors. 
  2. The email listed does not contain a verified CSUN email. Emails that do not end with @csun.edu or @my.csun.edu should be considered suspicious.
  3. Notice how vague and unprofessional the ‘subject’ line is. Authentic communications would be more specific as to why they are contacting you.
  4. CSUN will never ask for an email that is not your CSUN email.

California State Northridge Foundation Phishing Email 

From: xxxxxxxxxx, xxxxxx <xxxxxxxxxxx.xxxxx@csun>
Sent: Monday, March 9, 2020 10:30 AM
Subject: Please read this important message 

---Start of Email---

Good Morning,

California State University, Northridge’s foundation for success includes its commitment to the principles of equal employment opportunity and affirmative action for everybody, persons of color, veterans, individuals with disabilities.

Are you interested in working on-campus for $400 weekly? If yes send your alternate email(different from educational) and cell phone to xxxxxxx @xx.com

Regards,

xxxxx xxxxxxxxxx, Au.D., CCC-A

California State University, Northridge

Communication Disorders and Sciences

---End of Email---

How we know it's phishing?

  1. The email contains grammatical errors. 
  2. CSUN will never ask for another email besides your CSUN email. 
  3. Oddly phrased department.
  4. Notice how vague and unprofessional the ‘subject’ line is. Authentic communications would be more specific as to why they are contacting you.
  5. Be suspicious of emails that try to scare you into doing something. Phishing emails always try to create a sense of urgency. 

Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FASFA) Phishing Email 

---Start of Email---

From: xxxx, xxxx xxxxx x < >
Sent: Thursday, February 13, 2020 6:21 PM
Subject: Financial Aid - Information on Federal Work-Study 

Dear Student,

You indicated on your 2019-2020 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) that you are interested in the Federal Work-Study (FWS) Program and have met CSUN eligibility requirements to receive a FWS award. This is an INVITATION to participate in the FWS Program at CSUN. 

This is a Financial Aid employment program that provides on-campus and near off-campus employment opportunities for eligible students. Please keep in mind this invitation does not mean that you have a FWS award in your financial aid package, or that you are guaranteed a job.

If you are interested in receiving a FWS award:

  • View the mandatory FWS online information workshop at www.csun.edu/financialaid/fws-student-information-workshop (Link has been disabled)

Regards,
Psychologist and Director of Training,xxxxxxx
University Counseling Services
California State University, Northridge

---End of Email---

How we know it's phishing? 

  1. The name on the email does not match with the name at the end of the email.
  2. Oddly phrased department.
  3. The link provided does not send you to the link shown in the email. Hover your cursor over links to verify its destination. If it looks suspicious, do not click on it. 

 Payroll Phishing Email 

---Start of Email---

From: xxxx, xxxx x <xxxx.xxxx@csun>
Sent: Monday, January 13, 2020 8:01 AM
Subject: 2020-2021 Research, Scholarship, and Creative Activity

Hello,

Please see this salary request for 2020 from the payroll department 

https://www.csun.edu/sites/default/files/2020-AY-Facuty-TA-Pay-Distributiom.pdf (Link has been disabled)

Professor xxxx xxxx,
Academic Personnel Analyst
CSUN Faculty Affairs
www.csun.edu/faculty-affairs
(Link has been disabled)
Statement of Confidentiality:
The information contained in this electronic message and any attachments to this message are intended for the exclusive use of the addressee(s) and may contain confidential information. If you are not the intended recipient, please notify the sender of this message immediately and destroy all copies of this message and any attachments. This email is not to be forwarded without the approval of the original sender. Thank you.

--- End of Email---

How we know it's phishing?

  1.  The links attached do not send you to the link described in the email. A simple way to know where the link will take you is to hover over the link, the real website should reveal itself.
  2.  The subject line does not match with the details in the email.
  3.  The email does not address any specific receive

 

Examples from previous years can be found below: 

Phishing Examples 2019

Phishing Examples 2018

Phishing Examples 2017

Phishing Examples 2016

Phishing Examples 2015

Phishing Examples 2014

 

Your graduation is a reason to celebrate! We encourage you to honor this milestone by making full use of your gown; take pictures, share on social media and celebrate with loved ones.

 

 

 

 

 

 

cid:image001.png@01D61D93.8BC26820

Pamela  sent you a document to review and sign.

 

 
 

 

  1. The name in the body of the email does not match with the name of the sender's email address.