IMSS has been alerted to a phishing scam impacting the Caltech community. The scam, often referred to as the "Are you available?" scam, has spread from email to text messages, and already has been experienced by several members of the Caltech community. In it, the attacker masquerades as a Caltech administrator and sends a text message asking for the intended victim to get back to them, to help with an undefined task. The victim is often cautioned not to call, because the administrator is in a meeting and needs something done quickly. Once they respond, the victim is asked to buy gift cards and send them to the administrator. If successful, the attacker often requests further rounds of gift cards to be sent.
The ease of masquerading as someone else through email or text makes this scam lucrative for the attackers. Please take great care in verifying the authenticity of messages received through any communications channel. Although IMSS uses protection technology to weed out as many phishing or scam messages as possible to protect the Caltech campus community, no technology can screen 100 percent of malicious traffic.
Common scams are described at the IMSS website: Http://imss.caltech.edu/services/security/issues/scams .
If you need assistance, please contact the IMSS Information Security team at [email protected]