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Security Alert! New Phishing Scam Targets UMass Amherst Community - Friday, 2/21

February 21, 2020

On February 21, 2020 a new fraudulent phishing message began targeting UMass Amherst email users.

The email appears to have been sent by “Cynthia Gerstl-Pepin,” and asks the recipient “Where are you? Please let me know because there’s something I need you to do for me."

Caution: This email did not come from the University of Massachusetts. It is a phishing scam designed to trick you into providing your personal information or other things of value.

Do not respond to the fraudulent message! Responding or opening any attachments from the sender may put your information and the university's information and systems at risk.

If you have already responded to the message and supplied your personal information, or something else of value, please notify us at

When receiving suspicious messages or messages from unknown senders, we recommend that you:

  • Verify the identity of anyone who requests your personal information. Never provide financial data or other personal information in response to an email or on an untrusted site or form.
  • Report these messages to

Learn more about phishing attacks and how to avoid getting caught: 

Phishing message:

Screenshot of the phishing message, claiming to be Cynthia Gerstl-pepin, asking the recipient to do something for them