"Spear Phishing" attack targets School of Medicine

Recently, members of the UNC School of Medicine community have been targeted in an email scam known as “spear phishing.” This form of phishing is especially dangerous because messages are tailored to the recipient and appear to be from a trusted source. Read more about "spear phishing" and what to do if you receive a suspicious email.

Spear phishing email messages appear to be from an individual or business that you know. However, a close examination will reveal that they contain many of the tell-tale signs of other fraudulent phishing emails.

In general, phishing emails aim to:

  • Create a false sense of urgency
  • Request that you click an unfamiliar link to address the problem
  • Come from a seemingly legitimate sender, but, are not actually from a UNC Health Care (@unchealth or @unch) or School of Medicine (@med) email address
  • Contain grammar, spelling, or formatting errors

Recent spear phishing emails have asked recipients to transfer departmental funds. If you receive an email that requests a transfer of any money, please takes steps to confirm its legitimacy by independently contacting the person making the request, preferably by phone or face-to-face.

In general, if you receive an email that appears suspicious:

  • Do not click any links. This is an attempt to gain access to your user name, password and other personal information.
  • Avoid opening attachments from unknown senders.
  • Double check the sender’s email address. It may appear legitimate at first glance, but not actually be from a UNC Health Care or medical school domain.

If you suspect that an email is a phishing attempt, forward your email as an attachment to phish@unc.edu so it can be reviewed and blocked by security. For instructions on how to forward an email as an attachment, see this ITS help document.

If you fear your data may have been compromised in a phishing attempt, call 962-HELP immediately to submit a critical ticket to OIS Security.

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