New phishing scam: Google Docs / Word Docs

IT Services has received reports that a new scam email has been making the rounds, and it looks a little different from phishing scams that we have seen in the past.

The sender claims to be a Miami senior executive, such as academic dean or senior administrator. An example of note claims to be from Brent Shock, vice president of enrollment management and student success. The email asks for the recipient to open a Google Doc or a Word Doc supposedly having to do with payroll information.

The information security team is aware of this scam. Please be aware: Do not respond to this message and do not open the Google Doc or Word Doc.

A notable example of the email may say:

FWD:Brent Shock Has invited you to view the following document that need urgent attention.
Thanks and Regards!
Brent Shock
Vice President
Enrollment Management and Student Success

In this case, the scammer is trying to get you to open the document, which will then collect your personal information. At the bottom of the Google Doc or Word Doc window in your inbox, there is the option to “Block sender from Drive,” and we recommend that you do so.

There are several “tells” that can indicate a phishing attempt:

  1. The sender’s email is not from an address.
  2. Obvious grammatical mistakes (it directs recipients to view the document “that need urgent attention”).
  3. Google helpfully warns that the sender is outside your organization.
Remember: If you receive an email that looks suspicious, it’s better to be safe than sorry - forward the message to, and the information security team will tell you whether it’s legitimate or a fraud.