Social Engineering Warning

Please be aware of a recent email scam targeting USC students, faculty, and staff. This scam is usually sent from an email address that may seem familiar and will ask things like “Are you in the office?” or “Are you available?” The purpose of these emails is to garner a response from the recipient before asking another question, often financial in nature. Please see below for an example:

Subject: Are you available?


I’m stuck in a meeting and I need a favor. Are you available?

If you reply they may respond like this:


Thanks for responding. I’m stuck in a meeting and I need you to purchase some Amazon gift cards. Please send me to code once you have them. I will make sure you are reimbursed.

If you receive any suspicious messages, do not respond, and report them to

For more information on how to spot suspicious messages, visit

To stay up-to-date on active email campaigns posing a risk to USC employees visit,