Threat Log

This page will list recent scams and threats that have been circulating around the Valpo campus.

Remember: the best way to handle phishing messages is to mark them as such in Gmail. Click the down-pointing arrow in the upper right, then select the "Report phishing" option. This will train the Gmail system to recognize these messages, so it will start filtering them out of other people's inboxes.

If you receive a message and are unsure of its validity, contact the IT Help Desk (webhelpdesk.valpo.edu, 219.464.5986) and inquire.

We have created the educational video below to help you learn how to identify phishing.


April 2014

The "webmaster" phishing scheme is STILL circulating through campus. See descriptions below (in December and February) for how this one operates. You should NEVER enter your login information into a Google Doc. Additionally, your Gmail@Valpo account has over 25GB of space, so you are unlikely to run out of quota space. You can see how much space you're using by viewing your Gmail inbox and scrolling down to the bottom of the page; your available and used space will both be listed for you to see.


February 2014

Several more phishing scams have been circulating. The worst is the "Webmaster" email mentioned below (in December 2013) is again circulating with a Google Doc to collect login information. This scam is no more true now than it was previously. IT will never use a Google Doc to ask you to "re-verify" your account.

Other scams going around purport to be from Verizon, PayPal, and Wells Fargo Bank. The emails use scare tactics to try and trick you into sharing your private login information with the fraudsters.

2/14 - A student email mailing list received a message with a compromised PDF attachment. The attachment does not contain a virus or malware, and measures have been taken to secure the mailing list to avoid a repeat in the future.

2/28 - The "Webmaster" email (see below) is once again circulating around campus. Do not enter your username and/or password into a Google Doc. It will never ask you for that information in this way.


January 2014

A phishing email claiming to be from IRS.gov is circulating and asking people to "verify and update" their IRS e-file. It contains a link to a (now disabled) Google file designed to collect login information so scammers can steal people's information.


December 2013

An email from "Webmaster" claims that "your mailbox has exceeded its storage limit." It contains a link to a (now deleted) Google file to collect login information. Learn more about this particular type of hoax.


Here are a few tips to keep you and your information safe in these instances:

  1. They may say they are from the Valpo IT department, a bank, the IRS, or other organizations, but these types of messages are not legitimately from these groups. Check the "from" email address to make sure it matches the organization.
  2. The "from" addresses may indicate they are from valpo.edu, but these are usually compromised accounts that have already been victimized by these scams.
  3. Carefully scrutinize company names. If it is from a legitimate company, the name will be appropriately spelled and capitalized. The message should include the company's branding.
  4. Watch for grammatical errors, including incomplete sentences, incorrect verb tenses, poor punctuation, and so forth. Be alert to inconsistent capitalization and misspelled words throughout the message. Legitimate organizations want to maintain a professional image and generally will not distribute messages with these types of errors.
  5. Hover over any links in the message, and notice the intended website. Does it point to the organization’s correct website? If it points to a Google Doc or misspelled website, do not click on the link.
  6. Pay attention to the ending domain of any referenced webpages: .gov, .com, .org, .info, and .edu are all different domains and scammers may use the wrong one to fool you into clicking the link.