PHISHING EXAMPLE: Research Assistant

July 12, 2021

What makes this a phishing message?

This very simple, but effective, targeted phishing scam used the name of an actual Berkeley professor to send out a call for research assistant work. 

There are a few clues that the message is a forgery:

  • The criminal is sending from a account instead of an address
  • The grammar and sentence structure is poor


  • If you receive a email containing a message that you did not expect, especially with words like "Urgent" or "Response Needed" do not engage. 
  • If the email is unsolicited and offering money, do not engage
  • If you are ever unsure if an email is legitimate, please reach out to

If you have received this message and shared correspondence with the scammer, we recommend that you cease correspondence immediately and contact UCPD if there have been any financial transactions.

Original Message:

From: Bernhard Boser <>
Date: Mon, Jul 12, 2021, 5:34 AM
Subject: Berkeley University of California - Research Assistant

Berkeley University of California is seeking an Research Assistant /
services of a competent Undergraduate Student Administrative Assistant
to work Part-time and get paid $350 weekly. Tasks will be carried
out remotely. If interested, Do text your name to (808) 378-1179
so as to proceed

Bernhard Boser


(808) 378-1179.

490A Cory Hall

Warning:  The links and email addresses included in these messages are from real-life examples, do not attempt to explore them.

The most dangerous links have been removed - you can hover your cursor over these links to see the original address in a pop-up techtip (instead of in the corner of the browser window).

How to report phishing:

  • Open the message

  • To the right of 'Reply' arrow

  • Select 'More' (typically denoted with three vertical dots)

  • Then 'Report phishing'

If you are unable to log into bMail, forward the message to