Office of the CIO: Campus-Wide Scam Alert - Gift Cards

March 7, 2019

Information Technology Services has recently seen an increase in gift card spear phishing campaigns on campus. Spear phishing is an email attack targeted towards individuals that makes an email appear as if it is coming from a trusted sender (e.g. Dean, Supervisor, Manager etc.). The fake sender often offers a seemingly legitimate reason for why he or she can’t speak in person and then proceed to ask you via email to purchase Apple Gift cards. Once you purchase the gift cards, the sender then asks you to provide a photo of the cards, scratched off with the codes revealed.

Please DO NOT PURCHASE CARDS OR PROVIDE CODES FROM GIFT CARDS. Once the criminals have those codes they can use the gift cards as their own and your money cannot be recovered. There is no legitimate reason why any UNC Charlotte employee should be requesting gift cards with the codes revealed on gift cards.

Apple Article on Gift Card Scam

What Should I Be On The Lookout For?

Any email that looks similar to a real UNC Charlotte employee, BUT comes from an external email domain (e.g., etc.).

Sample Email AddressesReal or Fake?

FAKE HINT: Email has real UNC Charlotte staff name BUT ends in

FAKE HINT: Email has real UNC Charlotte staff name and contains in the username BUT ends in

REAL HINT: Email has real UNC Charlotte staff name AND ends in


If you receive an email, claiming to be from an UNC Charlotte employee and does not end with Do Not Respond, report it as phishing and delete it. You can report these to: or   If you have any questions, please contact the IT Service Desk at 704-687-5500


Mike Carlin