Information Security Notice: Gift Card Scams

York and other universities have seen an increase in gift card scams. In these scams, you may receive an email appearing to be from a coworker or someone you report to that urgently needs your help to do something involving a financial transaction, usually to purchase gift cards, such as iTunes, amazon cards, or others.

An example of such a scam often starts off with a simple message looking for urgent assistance, such as:


From: Dept Chair <>


I would like to know if you are free at the moment? Let me know ASAP.



Notice that that return email address is not an actual York University address or account, but the scammer is using an address that may look legitimate at a glance. Replying to it results in requests for gift card purchases and for the codes to be forwarded on. Often scammers will target all the direct reports of an individual, with organizational information gleaned from York Atlas or other sources.

If you receive such a message, please report it to Information Security using the Report Phishing button on Outlook or Gmail. If you receive an email you are not sure about please do not hesitate to contact

More information on using the Report Phishing button:


Chris Russel, Chief Information Security Officer
UIT Information Security
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