Fake USC email circulates among staff and students

TechOps warns students and faculty of falling for the phishing email

A photo of the phishing email.

With a fake email making rounds in the inboxes of students and faculty, USC has sent out a notice of caution with tips to avoid the phishing trap. If you have received an email with the subject line “IMPORTANT: A message From University of Southern California,” it is best to ignore it. The fake email looks like the USC “cardinal” login page but is, in fact, a phishing email aimed at gathering personal information.

The email, sent to various people at USC, is asking for their personal information including name, date of birth, SSN and driver’s license.

Phishing is an online scam where people attempt to impersonate institutions like USC via platforms like email and text message, among other means, to steal personal information. It is usually crafted to include a link that resembles the institutional one people are used to. However, once the details are entered, they go straight to the scammers.

A few things can be done to avoid falling for them, as per the email sent by USC:

In the email, Frank Miuccio, the director of information technology at TechOps, acknowledged that it is difficult to discern if an email is real or fake. Students should note that Annenberg IT or USC ITS would never request information like one’s SSN and passwords.

The email further states that should anyone click on the link in the phishing email, they must visit the USC ITS website to change their password and let the department know that they clicked the link or disclosed their information.

Support can be found at the Zoom Support Center, the TechOps website or via email at

Miuccio can also be reached at on weekends, and asked that ITS Abuse Incident be CC’d on any email sent to him.