A thief with a fishing pole catching a key

6/21 Phishing Alert: Subject – “UW-Madison Account Update”

The UW–Madison Office of Cybersecurity is aware of an active phishing campaign on campus in which the attacker impersonates a UW–Madison Information Technology service unit. See the screenshot below.

The campaign’s email messages ask recipients to click a link to update their email account. The emails are similar to those sent in another phishing campaign, reported in April of this year, differing most visibly in that the salutation in this example addresses students as well as faculty and staff.  

Example 1

NOTE: The most recently reported phishing emails like this example were sent over the weekend of June 19, but such attacks can occur at any time. Please be on the lookout.

University of Wisconsin Madison banner and crest

Dear Faculty, Staff & Students,

Your UW Madison Email account information needs to be updated in the database system to avoid deactivation.

Click Update Email Account  to update



University of Wisconsin-Madison

IT Help Desk  

How can I identify this phishing attempt?

  • Be on alert for an email purporting to be from  “IT Help Desk.” It includes a request to click a link to either either verify your email address or update your email account.  
  • The email contains a link to a website that doesn’t have a wisc.edu domain. 
  • The email links to a fake web portal login screen.

What should I do if I receive this phishing attempt?

Outlook users:
To report phishing emails received via Outlook, please click the “Report Phish” button on the toolbar/ribbon located at the top of your page. This action will send the questionable email to the UW–Madison Cybersecurity Operations Center (CSOC). 

Non-Outlook users: 
If you do not see the “Report Phishing” button, then forward the message as an attachment  (Source: KB 34567) to abuse@wisc.edu. Please do not simply forward the questionable email, as this will prevent us from seeing the header of the message and make it difficult to take appropriate action.

For additional information, please refer to: Office 365 – Submit a message as spam/phishing (Source: KB 45051).

If you are ever unsure whether an email message is legitimate, DO NOT RESPOND to it! Instead, contact the DoIT Help Desk (608) 264-HELP (4357) and ask for advice.

What should I do if I accidentally clicked one of the fake portal links?

Immediately change your NetID password by following the instructions in NetID: Changing a Password (Source: KB 20589).

How can I learn how to recognize other phishing attempts?

Go to Learn how to recognize and report phishing (Source: it.wisc.edu).

Stay updated on phishing attempts by visiting our Scam alerts page (Source: it.wisc.edu).