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Cybersquatting Scam Hits University of Utah Purchasers and Vendors

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Attorneys and law enforcement personnel at University of Utah are reacting to recent attacks by so-called cyber-squatters. Thousands of University employees are being targeted by an internet scheme making fraudulent purchase orders with sites that attempt to appear to be representing the U. Valoree Dowell is the interim communications director for the University of Utah. She says right now the purchasing department is busy alerting suppliers to the scam.

“It looks like to the vender that it’s originating from the University but is in fact fraudulent," says Dowell.  "The good news is that, as far as we know, no purchases have been completed using this scheme. And it is a serious matter; we’re taking it very seriously, and taking action on several different fronts,” she says.

Credit File: University of Utah
Rice-Eccles Stadium view looking east.

Dowell says investigators are tracking down the fraudulent email contacts while the U’s legal department works to shut down the false domain names. Her advice to anyone who uses email for business is be alert to anything suspicious and get a hold of the person you’re working with directly if there’s an issue.  Arnold Combe, the Vice President for Administrative Services at the U, says shutting down the fraudulent domain names is expected to take several weeks and he urged increased diligence in the meantime.

Bob Nelson is a graduate of the University of Utah with a BA in mass communications. He began his radio career at KUER in 1978 when it was still in Kingsbury Hall. That’s also where he met his wife, Maria Shilaos, in 1981. Bob left KUER for commercial radio where he worked for 25 years, and he is thrilled to be back at KUER. Bob and his family are part of an explorer group, fondly known as The Hordes and Masses, which has been seeking out ghost towns and little-known places in Utah for more than twenty years.
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