Phishing Scam: Are You Available?

A recent phishing scam here at UA (and beyond!) involves an email that appears to be from a supervisor or colleague, attempting to start a conversation:

From: []
Subject: Are you available?
Date: February 05, 2020 at 10:11:27 AM AKST
To: [Your email address]

These emails don’t contain malware or malicious links, but they are a form of social engineering meant to deceive the recipient.

The Conversation Goes Something Like This . . .

  • If the recipient replies to the sender, the sender provides an excuse why they cannot talk via regular channels; they are in a meeting or without a phone.
  • If the recipient replies again, the sender explains they have an urgent need for a favor. The request is usually for online merchant gift cards, such as iTunes or Google Play.
  • If the recipient purchases these gift cards, the sender asks them to scratch off the back of the card and provide the codes to the sender.
  • The scam is successful because the recipient believes they are helping out their supervisor or a colleague.

Avoid Becoming a Victim
Always check the actual address of who the email is coming from. Many times scammers will use a similar name, or try and add “” in the address to trick you.

One important item to look for is what comes after the “@” symbol – this is the email domain. Domains listed with,,, or are not university email domains, and you should exercise caution before responding to these emails.

Using a mobile device? Sometimes the full sender’s email address does not automatically display. You can check the address by clicking on the “Details” link. This is usually located at the top of the email with the sender, recipient, and date information. All mobile apps differ, so it’s best to become familiar with yours and confirm how this feature works on yours.

As always, your UA service desks are ready to help! Contact us!

Technical Support Center: (907)786-4646
Toll Free: (877) 633-3888

Phone: (907) 450-8300 (x8300 on campus)
Toll-free: (800) 478-8226

907-796-6400 (Helpdesk)
877-465-6400 (Toll Free)