September 21, 2023

Potential Hurricane Harvey Phishing Scams

This message is from UMW’s Office of IT Security


When a tragedy strikes, cyber criminals typically set up fraudulent donation sites, and online scammers look to prey on people who want to help.

This week, scammers have been using Hurricane Harvey-themed messages to trick people into opening phishing emails and links on social media sites. This, in turn, can not only con victims out of money, but lead to stolen login information and devices infected with malware. Please be vigilant about exercising caution in handling any email with subject line, attachments, or hyperlinks related to Hurricane Harvey, even if they appear to originate from a trusted source.

Always be mindful when opening any email attachment or clicking on a link. Think before you click! I have included below some tips from Homeland Security’s National Cyber Awareness System.

If you ever have a question about an email you receive, forward it to or contact the IT Help Desk.

Thank you,

Ray Usler,  CISSP, CISM

Director of IT Security and ISO

University of Mary Washington


  • Do not follow unsolicited web links in email messages.
  • Use caution when opening email attachments. Refer to Using Caution with Email Attachments for more information on safely handling email attachments.
  • Keep antivirus and other computer software up-to-date.
  • Refer to the Avoiding Social Engineering and Phishing Attacks for more information on social engineering attacks.
  • Review the Federal Trade Commission information on Charity Scams.
  • Verify the legitimacy of any email solicitation by contacting the organization directly through a trusted contact number. You can find trusted contact information for many charities on the BBB National Charity Report Index.