man looking concerned about phishingThe IT Service Desk has reported an increase in gift card email phishing scams.

IT Services warns: be wary of gift card phishing scams

Recently, the service desk in Information Technology Services has reported an increase in gift card email phishing scams. Its staff warns recipients to be vigilant to the possibility that an email is not legitimate.

To reduce the potential of getting phished, IT Services recommends being on alert for the following clues:

  • Unexpected or sensational: The request is unusual or contains a “too good to be true” offer, such as the promise of a high value gift.
  • Urgency: It emphasizes the risk of missing the gift card opportunity, insisting on quick action.
  • Inconsistencies: The email address may have a similar name to the offer, or the message contains spelling and grammar errors, odd formatting, or inaccuracies in the signature.
  • Snare or pitfall: If the “claim your offer” link takes you to a web page that asks you to log in, it’s a trap. Or if the message tells you to open the attachment for the gift card, it will be a malicious file that could infect your computer.

How can I avoid getting hooked by a phishing scam?

  1. Call the sender to verify. If there's any doubt at all, make a call.
  2. If you’re on a mobile device, use a computer to check the message more carefully.
  3. Do not reply or act on unusual or out of character emails. Question urgency.
  4. Do not open email attachments or click links to claim a prize. Hover your mouse over the link to reveal the real destination address.

Find more details about spotting online phishing scams on the IT Services website. As always, report a phishing scam or spam email by forwarding the message as an attachment to or contact the IT Service Desk at 519-253-3000, ext. 4440.