Delayed package phishes

With the holidays coming soon, there’s a fair chance that you’re someone who is waiting for a package to be delivered. Phishers regularly try to take advantage by sending out phony package notification emails, hoping that someone will think  it’s related to a delivery they’re expecting and click the link.

If you are expecting a package and want to check the status of the delivery, obtain tracking information from your order receipt or by logging into the site on which you made the order, and then go to the official site of the delivery provider to track your package. Do not use a link from an email to go to those sites if you’re not certain that the email is legitimate. Instead, use a bookmark for the site if you made one earlier, or carefully type the site’s address into your browser. Alternatively, for delivery providers you can use’s reference page with links and phone numbers for delivery providers that they work with.

Now we’ll look at some examples of package phishes and how to spot them. Below is an example of a fake Canada Post email. There are quite a few signs that the email is not legitimate:

  • In the subject line, there is a word choice error (malapropism) in “Delays excepted”
  • The sender display name and address are very generic in that they don’t match a specific delivery provider
  • The description of the shipment as being “from a webshop” is oddly vague

The link in this phish seems to be abusing a legitimate link scanning and redirect service to hide the true destination. That can make it tricky to determine where the link actually goes, but given the red flags above, you can reasonably conclude it’s not going to be the real Canada Post website.

Here’s an example of a fake UPS email. This one is better-crafted than the one above, but there are still some red flags you can spot:

  • The sender email address is not from UPS (it appears to be from an unrelated Japanese site)
  • Wonky formatting like the misaligned “Track This Parcel” button can be a sign the email is fake

Hovering over “Track This Parcel” will reveal a link to a site on It’s worth noting that Amazon isn’t just an online marketplace. Amazon AWS is a major cloud computing provider, and phishers are known to abuse it to host phishing sites. If you see a link to a site on in an unsolicited email, be wary. Links from an Amazon order email are more likely to go to or


Part-Time Student Administrative Assistant Needed

This purported job offer uses the name of a real faculty member from the Department of Sociology, but this job offer did not come from that person or department and is a scam. There are several signs that this is not a legitimate opportunity:

  • The sender’s name does not match the name of the faculty member in the signature. This can be a sign of an impersonation scam.
  • The sender is not using UVic email. Instead, they are using a Gmail address and asking you to reply to it. Always be wary of unsolicited job offers that come from  an address from a free email provider or that ask you to contact that sort of email address.
  • The pay being offered for 8 hours of work per week is too good to be true–that’s much higher than the minimum wage in BC!
  • The scammer is asking you to send alternative contact information to move the conversation away from UVic email to evade detection.
  • There are capitalization errors in the signature block.

If you replied to the scammer, especially if you provided money or sensitive personal information, reach out to the Computer Help Desk for assistance and advice on how to report the fraud.


This phish started circulating today in the afternoon. It clearly comes from some external account. As usual, the goal is to steal your UVic credentials. A screenshot of the phish is shown below:

Please do not be curious and do not click these links because sometimes they may contain malware to infect your machine instantly. Our experts investigate them in dedicated isolated environments.


Part-Time Job Opening

Please be aware of this phish as it impersonates a UVic faculty member to make the job offer believable. The sender’s email address is not a UVic email and the sender’s name is generic “CAMPUS JOB”. The phisher asks particularly for your Gmail address which is to avoid detection by UVic network and could also lead to tricking you into giving your google credentials. This phish also has a usual tactic of too good to be true offer.

One can confirm such emails by contacting the person or department or organization from a known contact information (like in this case, from UVic website). Never use contact information given in the email to confirm the legitimacy of that email.



Mail Quota

This phish creates a sense of urgency by stating that your mailbox is full, and you need to update it. It also uses scary tactic, which is common with these phishes, that if you don’t take the action mentioned then your account will be “restricted”.

This email has clear signs of phishing, external sender, no salutation, generic signature, using an image to make you believe that your mailbox is full, external link. Never be in a hurry to take the action mentioned in the email, take your time to think and look for phishing signs.


This phish tries to get attention by pretending to be coming from payroll office, which is clearly not the case. The subject is too generic, and the sender’s name is fake “payroll Team” with external sender address (not on domain). The link in the email is also external to the services used in UVic. There is no context whatsoever as to why this email is sent to you.

This phish is to steal your credentials. Once you click on the link to download the attachment it asks for credentials. This was observed by Infosec team in an isolated environment. You should never be adventurous about these emails and refrain from the curiosity of clicking on the links. Always check the link by hovering over it.

If in doubt, you can always confirm with the payroll dept by calling them directly from a known contact information (never from the one given in the phish email).


If an unsolicited email seems very vague or generic, that can be a sign it’s a phish. That certainly can be said of this one, which uses a undescriptive subject line and doesn’t even try to give any context or a reasonable explanation for why your account is supposedly being deactivated. On a similar vein, the email claims to be from “IT Helpdesk” in a generic fashion that doesn’t mention UVic in any way, and the greeting is equally impersonal and generic.

The vague and generic nature of the email, along with the non-UVic sender address, inconsistent font formatting, and errors in capitalization and punctuation, are all signs that it is not legitimate. The ultimate red flag is the fact that hovering over the link shows it goes to a website on the Weebly free website builder–a real UVic login page would not be hosted there.