Most tech users have received more than their fair share of scam emails. From deposed (and stranded) Nigerian princes to widows who somehow seem confused as to how to spend the millions of dollars their husbands left them, the stories are almost laughable. Unfortunately, what makes the scam email deadly serious is the intentional targeting of gullible people. If you’ve ever wondered why these emails are so ridiculous, it’s actually due to a crafty effort to only lure in people who are naive enough to fall for whatever tactics the scammers throw at them.
On the slightly less bizarre end of the spectrum are the spoofed email scams that appear to come from a well-known entity like Amazon or PayPal, only the email address associated with it is slightly off. The trap might come from a domain address like Amaz0n of PayPaI instead of the real domain, but scammers work under the hope that their victims won’t stop to pay attention.
A recently discovered spoof attempt ups the game, though, with scammers going to extreme lengths to steal identifying information and payment methods from their victims. Newcastle University has taken to social media to issue dire warnings about “Newcastle International University,” who has an entire website (which even includes subheadings and pages). The fake website contains webforms for users to submit their personal information, as well as a payment screen to purportedly pay for their classes.
The university tweeted its official warning to current and potential students: “We have been made aware of an unofficial website which is fraudulently using the Newcastle University brand and accepting credit card payments to apply for courses. The website ‘newcastle international university’ is in no way affiliated with the University and we are advising anyone who finds the website should not submit any personal details.”