To: Liberal Arts Faculty, Post Docs, Graduate Students, and Staff
From: Clarence Lang
Date: March 20, 2020
I am writing because I have received numerous reports that scammers are continuing to impersonate me in an effort to compel individuals to purchase gift cards. A new scam has been perpetrated this morning. I am grateful to those of you who recognized that this message from “me” was not a legitimate one. To be clear, this is yet another “phishing” expedition and a complete hoax. Apparently, this is a popular swindle that takes advantage of personal and professional familiarity to criminally exploit individuals.
The incident has been reported to the Office of Information Security, and the sender will be blocked as soon as possible. As long as you have not purchased any gift cards, there is no risk to you or your accounts. However, if you have made any purchases in response to this phony message, please contact law enforcement at once to report the matter.
It is very likely that scammers will continue to take advantage of the extraordinary circumstances we are encountering as a result of the COVID-19 crisis, playing on individuals’ sense of uncertainty and vulnerability. In general, please exercise extreme skepticism if or when you receive messages from colleagues making unusual requests or asking for your personal information, especially when the messages do not originate from the sender’s Penn State account.