Oct. 5, 2000
Vol. 20 No. 2

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    University community warned against misleading e-mail

    By Peter Schuler
    News Office

    E-mail messages appeared this month in inboxes around campus, offering special prices on cellular phones. Greg Jackson, Chief Information Officer, advises University e-mail users to, “beware of e-mails with too-good-to-be-true offers that also appear to have University sponsorship.

    “These e-mails are unauthorized and potentially dangerous versions of junk mail. They are composed intentionally to confuse the reader into a false assumption that the sender and the product are somehow affiliated with the University,” said Jackson.

    “The University does not provide e-mail lists to outsiders. Companies purchase e-mail address lists with names of students and others in the University community compiled by outsiders from Web pages, discussion groups and other sources, and then target their mailings accordingly,” he added.

    Jackson suggests that students and others on campus read with care all e-mails that offer goods or services. Messages with genuine University endorsement generally will have a “uchicago.edu” e-mail address and usually will include a link to the University’s Web site or a University phone number.

    As a final note of warning, Jackson said, “if an e-mail ad forces the reader to open an attachment to the message, the reader should strongly resist the temptation: the attachment is likely to bear a virus.”