"Are you available?" - the gift card email scam persists

“Are you free at the moment? Let me know ASAP.”

This is the kind of email that may get your attention, especially if it’s from someone higher up in your organization. But be on guard – it’s an email scam.   Williams and other colleges and universities have been receiving these emails for over a year and they are surprisingly persistent and effective.

Here’s how it works:

You get a short email from someone in your organization, usually a higher-up, saying that they need you to respond ASAP. If you respond, usually they ask you to purchase gift cards or wire money somewhere.

The scammer has often created a free fake account, like [email protected], and not actually compromised Ephraim’s Williams account. Compromised accounts are becoming much rarer at Williams now that nearly everyone* is using 2-step authentication.

Scammers will target an entire department or one person’s direct reports. The Williams organization structure is openly available on our websites, which makes it easy for scammers to get contacts and departmental lists.

If you receive a scam or phishing email, you can report it [email protected]  Also report the scammer by choosing “report phishing” from the pull down menu on the right in gmail.  If you receive an email you aren’t sure about, please don’t hesitate to contact Client Services at [email protected] or 413-597-4090