Beware of scam involving messages from professors

To: UC Santa Cruz Community

From: Nader Oweis, Chief of Police

Campus police ask members of the campus community to beware of a phishing scam that involves text messages or emails that appear to come from a professor or a university colleague. The emailer asks you to purchase a gift card for them as a favor, stating that they will later reimburse you.

Campus police have seen multiple instances of this scam. Fortunately, police do not believe any of the recipients of a scam email have made a purchase.

If you have any doubt about the veracity of an email request from a professor or any campus employee, be sure to speak to them directly before taking action. 

Police, meanwhile, also report a surge in on-campus thefts and burglaries in recent weeks. Items have been stolen from vehicles, residence halls, and other campus buildings. Officers patrol campus day and night, but community members should also secure their belongings. Lock parked cars and do not leave valuables in plain sight, and be sure to secure your offices and residences.  

Safety tips

  • If you feel you or others are in danger, immediately call 911.
  • Report all in-progress crimes, as well as suspicious people and activity, to the UCSC Police Department by calling 911. Calls also may be made by utilizing one of the “blue light,” emergency or elevator phones located throughout campus.   
  • Be alert to your surroundings. Your actions can help prevent others from becoming victims.
  • Trust your instincts. If something or someone makes you uneasy, tell someone, avoid the person or leave the area.
  • Reports also may be made by calling the non-emergency line at 831-459-2231, ext. 1.