Alerts & Reports

Suspected Scams and Frauds

The information below reflects suspicious incidents including possible frauds and various forms of phishing scams.  These are not confirmed fraudulent activities, but do contain various suspicious indicators.  It is recommended that you exercise caution and diligence before responding to or activating any hyperlinks in the email or letter you received.

Phishing scams can be truly deceptive and hard to spot but if you stay mindful when you are online, you can reduce the chance that you'll take the bait. Visit http://www.usf.edu/antispam to learn more about how to deal with phishing messages you may have received. 

You can significantly reduce the risk of becoming a victim of ransomware by cultivating the following basic security hygiene habits:

  • Refer to the Student’s Guide to Fraud Scams.
  • Update and patch your computer. Ensure your applications and operating systems (OSs) have been updated with the latest patches. Vulnerable applications and OSs are the targets of most ransomware attacks. (See CISA’s Understanding Patches and Software Updates.)
  • Keep backups of your important files. Perform frequent backups of your system and other important files and verify your backups regularly. If your computer becomes infected with ransomware, you can restore your system to its previous state using your backups. USF files uploaded to USF OneDrive or USF Box have file version control, which will keep backup versions of your uploaded files protected from unwanted encryption through ransomware.
  • Be careful with links and attachments. Use trusted and verified web sites when researching information on the web, such as the CDC, World Health Organization, CISA, or other U.S. government sites, for accurate information. Be wary of emails and texts containing links, even if they seem to come from a familiar business or personal acquaintance.
  • Reach out to the sender or company directly. Was the message from someone within the USF community or a popular company? Find their phone number through the directory, not the one listed in the email, and call to verify the message is truly from the sender before responding in any way.
  • Check the sender's email address. Is the sender's email legitimate? Make sure that the email, not just the name of the sender, appears correct. Official messages from major companies generally have specific domains they send from. Most USF communications will come from a USF domain.
  • Verify charity authenticity. Make sure you are donating to the correct cause. (See the FTC’s How to donate wisely and avoid charity scams | FTC Consumer Information)
  • Refrain from sending personal information. Do not email financial information, restricted research information, passwords, or respond to requests asking for such information.
  • Don’t respond to password requests. USF IT will never request your password and you should not share it with others for any reason.
  • Don’t respond to requests for multifactor authentication codes. USF will never request the numeric code you may receive as part of your authentication into USF systems. That code belongs to YOU and should never be shared with anyone.
  • Report suspicious emails. Visit our Exchange Online Protection documentation to learn how to report suspicious emails.

Recently Reported Incidents

November 2022
Employment Scam

I am Dr. XXXXXX and I work as a Clinical Counselor for the Department of Disability and Welfare of the XXXXXX Foundation.

I provide individual and group therapy, coaching, assessment, and academic screenings to support students & individuals with disabilities (Physical, Chronic, Psychiatric, & Invisible) registered with XXXXXX Foundation.  A large percentage of the students served by the mental health unit have psychiatric disabilities or co-morbid psychiatric disabilities and need mental health support to be successful at the university.

In addition, many University Students with academic difficulties and no prior diagnosis are seen and assessed through the academic screening and assessment process. I am also the director of supervision, training and coordination of counseling psychology and clinical psychology graduate students of the United States who have practicums at XXXXXX Foundation APA-accredited school psychology pre-doctoral interns. You have received this email because you have an offer from the University Office for Students support to work with me as my temporary personal assistant.

I care about Animal Welfare, Arts and Culture, Children, Civil Rights and Social Action, Education, Environment, Disaster and Humanitarian Relief, Social Services, and lots more. This is a very simple employment. You will only help me purchase some Items when needed. This employment  is a work from home job which only takes about an hour a day, 3 days a week for $500 weekly pay.

I am unable to meet up for an interview because I am currently away and helping the disabled students in Australia. You will be paid in advance for all tasks and purchased to be done on my behalf. Upon my arrival we will discuss the possibility of making this a long-term employment if I am impressed with your services while I am away.

August 2022
Take Over Fraud

I regret to inform you about some sad news for you.
Approximately a month or two ago I have succeeded to gain a total access to all your devices utilized for browsing internet.
Moving forward, I have started observing your internet activities on continuous basis.

Go ahead and take a look at the sequence of events provided below for your reference:
Initially I bought an exclusive access from hackers to a long list of email accounts (in today's world, that is really a common thing, which can arranged via internet).
Evidently, it wasn't hard for me to proceed with logging in your email account.

Within the same week, I moved on with installing a Trojan virus in Operating Systems for all devices that you use to login to email.
Frankly speaking, it wasn't a challenging task for me at all (since you were kind enough to click some of the links in your inbox emails before).
Yeah, geniuses are among us.

Because of this Trojan I am able to gain access to entire set of controllers in devices (e.g., your video camera, keyboard, microphone and others).
As result, I effortlessly downloaded all data, as well as photos, web browsing history and other types of data to my servers.
Moreover, I have access to all social networks accounts that you regularly use, including emails, including chat history, messengers, contacts list etc.
My unique virus is incessantly refreshing its signatures (due to control by a driver), and hence remains undetected by any type of antiviruses.

July 2022
Hiring Scam

Hello I am Campbell William Russell and I work for Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) committed to student learning through the intellectual, scientific, artistic, psychological, and ethical development of its diverse student body. We prepare the disabilities for transfer to four-year universities; provide career & technical education; support the economic development of the region; offer pre-collegiate programs; and promote personal growth and lifelong learning. DHHS is a hub of information for students looking for career, employment and transfer. We are currently looking to hire a Student to work with me while we help Students with disabilities frustrated with ignorance and lack of services as my temporary personal assistant who is able to begin as soon as possible and will be continuing for the next academic year. We are looking for someone to build our brand and help to connect our office with the student body. Eligible candidate must be United State of America (USA) student. You will be paid in advance for all tasks and purchased to be done, some of my personal letters and mails will be forwarded to your residence or nearby post office for you to pick up at your convenience. You just need to help me Mail Letters, Make payment and purchase some items when needed. You get paid $450 Weekly for your salary.

June 2022
Virtual Assistant Scam

My name is XXXXXX and I work with the XXXXXX, and my job is to provide part-time employment for qualified students during the academic year and beyond. I have contacted you because there is an opening for you at CDS and below are the lines from your potential employer:

My name is Dr. XXXXXX and I am the Chief Information Officer for the Center for Disability Services Council - New York Chapter (CDS).
This is a virtual position which does not require you to travel to NY.
I also provide individual and group therapy, coaching, assessment, and academic screenings to support students with disabilities (physical, chronic, psychiatric, and invisible). A large percentage of the students served by the mental health unit have psychiatric disabilities or comorbid psychiatric disabilities and need mental health support to be successful at the University. In addition, many Universities of students with academic difficulties and no prior diagnosis are seen and assessed through the academic screening and assessment process. I am also the Director of supervision, training and coordination of counseling psychology and clinical psychology graduate students in the United States who have practicums at SCDD and APA-accredited school psychology predoctoral interns.

You have received this email to be considered for an offer from the University Office for Students with Disabilities to work with me. This is an at-will position which reports directly to me. Should you decide to accept the offer, you do not have to travel down to New York to occupy this position as we are transitioning online because of the pandemic.

I also have over 10 years of experience working with adults who have problematic relationships, childhood issues, and who feel stuck in their present life. It might be trauma, depression, anxiety, but whatever it is we can help you get "unstuck" together and I enjoy doing this. I believe everyone has the potential to help themselves, but sometimes we need some guidance.

This is a very simple job. You will only help me mail letters and make payments to our contract staff. Sometimes, you may need to be at Walmart to purchase some items for the new Hybrid Teachers when needed. This employment only takes 6 hours a day and 4 times weekly for $620.00

I am unable to meet up for an interview because I am currently away and helping the disabled students in Canada.