Phishing Alert: Fraudulent Offer of Free Estate Items | Information Technology | University of Pittsburgh

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Phishing Alert: Fraudulent Offer of Free Estate Items

Monday, January 8, 2024 - 10:05


Pitt Information Technology is taking action to address a new phishing scam targeting the University community. The scam offers free items from the estate of a former graduate’s father. The scam originates from a “BHM.K12.AL.US” email address and attempts to convince recipients to reply to a private email address to coordinate delivery.

Pitt IT recommends that recipients who replied to the scam block the scammer’s email address and/or phone number and be vigilant about reviewing any messages received at the email address they provided.

The Subject line may be similar to this example:


The body of the email message may be similar to this example:


Compliments of the seasons to both staff and students, we are pleased to bring to your notice that one of our Old Graduates, Mrs. [name redacted] is graciously giving away her late father's favorite properties to celebrate his one-year Anniversary. Amongst the items available are a neatly used

Apple MacBook Pro

PlayStation 5

Electric Bike(GoCycleG4)

2014 Baby Grand Piano (Yamaha)

Eric Clapton's Martin Guitar

Canon Camera (EOS 800D)

It's important to let you know these gadgets are offered for free, with a dispatch agent available. Mrs. [name redacted] is offering to have them delivered directly to your home, and to facilitate this a dispatching fee is required regardless of the destination. We encourage those interested to reach out to Mrs. [name redacted] via [email address redacted] with your personal email address (NOT SCHOOL EMAIL), as these items are sure to find new homes quickly. Don't miss this opportunity to obtain these remarkable pieces.


Guidance for spotting phishing scams is available on Pitt IT’s website. Keep in mind these key points:

  • Only approve multifactor authentication (Duo) requests that you have initiated. Duo is designed to prevent unauthorized access to your information and University data, but it requires constant vigilance. Never tap “Approve” if you receive a Duo authentication request that you were not expecting. Uninitiated authentication requests may be an attacker attempting to compromise your Pitt account. The only safe Duo authentication request you will receive is one you request when logging in to University services.
  • Do not reply to unsolicited emails or emails from unverifiable sources. If you were not expecting to receive such an email, confirm with the sender prior to interacting with the message. If you must interact with the message, avoid clicking on links contained in such emails. These may lead to sites that contain malicious software, or sites that attempt to steal your credentials. If a link looks suspicious, you can hover over the link with your mouse to preview the URL without clicking on it.
  • Be extra cautious if you automatically forward your University email. Automatically forwarding your University email to a non-University address (for example,,, or circumvents some of the security measures Pitt IT puts in place to protect you against phishing scams.
  • Report suspected phishing scams. To report a phishing scam, forward the phishing email as an attachment to 
  • Stay safe when scanning QR codes. Never scan a QR code from an unknown or untrustworthy source. When you do scan a QR code, be sure to use a scanner app that provides a preview of the destination so that you can review the URL and decide if it is safe. If you scan a QR code and the site is unrelated to what you scanned or requires a login, close out of your browser immediately.
  • Install an antivirus solution for personal devices. Staff and faculty should be using Microsoft Defender to protect University-owned devices. 

Please contact the Technology Help Desk at +1-412-624-HELP (4357) if you have any questions regarding this announcement.