A widely reported spear phishing scam, termed “Business Email Compromise (BEC),” has been targeting universities and other academic institutions. These attacks are spear phishing scams designed to impersonate someone you know in an attempt to gain access to sensitive information or to encourage you to transfer funds or provide gift cards. There has been an increase of these assaults across the University this new year.
Messages tend to come from an account mimicking a known sender. They can start out as basic greetings then progress to requests for money or data. Since the content is highly personalized, it’s often easy to get hooked.
Tips if Something Seems Off:
Double-check the email address before responding
Look to make sure the email address is correct. In Gmail hover your mouse over the sender name for the email to display. And if you are on a mobile phone? Wait until you can get to a computer.
Follow up with the sender separately
If you didn’t expect it, reject it. Or follow-up with the individual directly in a separate email or call/text to confirm.
Report and/or flag it
To flag it in bMail open the message and next to Reply click the three dots and select "Report phishing". Not sure if it's a phish? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 510 664-9000. For more information visit https://security.berkeley.edu/resources/phishing
Examples of these types of attacks include:
Original Message (Additional Example):
I'm in a meeting and need help getting some Amazon Gift Cards
Subject: Quick question
University of California, Berkeley