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Fake NYU Financial Aid "$1000 Visa Gift Card" Scam

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There are new reports about a sophisticated phishing message that purports to come from "Nyu Office Of Financial Aid". The phishing message (see below) claims that Financial Aid has "issued [you] a $1,000 Visa Gift Card free of charge" and that you have to visit a " website to claim your card and have it shipped to the address of your choosing.". The link then takes you to a website (omitted here for security reasons) that requests your personal information. This message is a forgery and should be deleted immediately.

NYU community members should NEVER REPLY TO OR CLICK ANY URL in an email that requests the recipient's email login name, password, or other personal information.

As a reminder of better security practices, always remember that:

  • No NYU community member will ever ask for your account password, especially not over email.
  • Do not reply back to emails from unidentified, untrusted, or unexpected sources.
  • Forward all phishing messages to phishing@nyu.edu. This helps train our email filters to block such messages in the future.
  • Messages that request personal information over plaintext email should be regarded as being suspicious. If you are unsure about the legitimacy of a message, contact the ITS Client Services Center at askits@nyu.edu or 212-998-3333.
  • If a message informs you of an impending "account closure" unless you comply with its demands, it is often a sign that the message is a phishing scam. Do not comply with its requests.

The following sites also provide several useful tips on defending against these types of phishing attacks:

The following sites have also reported on this "Visa Gift Card" scam:


Example of phishing message


Dear XXXXXXXX,

On behalf of Nyu Office Of Financial Aid you have been issued a $1,000 Visa Gift Card free of charge.

Card type: Visa Gift Card
Issued to: YOUR NAME HERE
Issuing branch: Manhattan, New York
Valid until: 08/2015

Please use the following website to claim your card and have it shipped to the address of your choosing:

Go to: www rXXXXXXX2 com

Note that claims must be made within 48 hours from this email being sent, or the above link will become invalid.

Sincerely, Rachel
Customer Service
Employee Benefits Center, LLC