Phishing Alert: Sophisticated Google Docs Scam | Information Technology | University of Pittsburgh

Phishing Alert: Sophisticated Google Docs Scam

Wednesday, May 3, 2017 - 16:35

Computing Services and Systems Development (CSSD) is responding to a new email phishing scam that claims someone has shared a document with you on Google Docs. A hyperlink in the email message takes the reader to a Google sign-in page, or (if the user is already signed into Google) prompts the reader to give an app access to the user’s account. If the reader grants the app access, a third party will have gained control of the user’s Google account. This would allow the attacker to view the user’s emails, documents, search history, and any other information stored in Google.

The following is a sample of the recent fraudulent email. Before clicking on any documents shared with you, check with the sender personally to confirm that they did indeed share a document with you. If you receive this message (or any message similar to it), please report it as a phishing scam by forwarding the email message as an attachment to Detailed instructions on reporting scams are available at


Subject: John Doe has shared a document on Google Docs with you

John Doe has invited you to view the following document:

Open in Docs


CSSD strongly recommends that you do not reply to unsolicited emails or emails from unverifiable sources. Avoid clicking on links contained in such emails, as these may lead to sites that contain harmful software. If a link looks suspicious, you can hover over the link with your mouse to preview the URL without clicking on it.

In addition, CSSD recommends that all users install Symantec Endpoint Protection software and use the LiveUpdate feature to get the latest virus definitions. As a complement to Symantec Endpoint Protection, CSSD offers Malwarebytes Premium for individuals and departments at no cost. Students, faculty, and staff can download Malwarebytes and Symantec Endpoint Protection at no cost through the Software Download Service at My Pitt. Departments can submit a help request to obtain Malwarebytes for multiple machines.

Please contact the Technology Help Desk at 412-624-HELP [4357] if you have any questions regarding this announcement.