Can't determine if this is a fraudulent email or not...
November 3, 2013 7:48 AM Subscribe
I received an email at ~4:30 PM (EST) from a @ucia.gov email account. It was in regards to a scholarship program from the CIA to which I had applied, stating that they had liked my online application, and wanted to learn more about me. The problem is that I can't determine, given what I'm looking at, whether it's fraudulent or not.
posted by anonymous to technology (20 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Let me list the reasons why I don't think it can be a fraud:
(1) It's from a @ucia.gov email. There doesn't seem anything fishy about it. I hit the reply button, and in the field it still states the same email.
(2) They're asking me to send information to a different email, but one still at a @ucia.gov account. I can't imagine there's anyway to fake this right? If they had been spoofing the email, they would have wanted me to reply to the original email, or had me go to some website which would have been discernible in the address field. Of course, the "ucia.gov" address spooked me at first. Why isn't it "cia.gov?" I asked. Well, Google seemed to give me legitimate hits on "ucia.gov" email accounts.
(3) I've applied before, but this is the first time for me to hear back. I'm also using a new email address this time around. The application deadline was Oct. 31st, and I got a timely response on Nov. 1st. I can't imagine that given these circumstances this could be a fraud. (On the other hand, when I applied to the NSA for a similar sort of position, they sent me by mail a request for some more information, which I was to input on their website.)
(4) The attached document they wanted me to fill out didn't make my antivirus software alert me when I scanned it.
On the other hand, the fishy things about this:
(1) I have to turn in documents by 7AM Nov. 4th, which is a Monday. I got this email Friday evening, just as the business day was ending. Therefore, there's no time for me to contact the CIA by phone or email in between to verify this email's legitimacy.
(2) They ask for transcripts and for me to fill out a supplemental document. Well, I suppose the transcripts can be unofficial given they want me to attach them, but I wonder if my transcripts can be used in identify theft? They have my name, grades, date of graduation, major... and my student ID. But there's nothing there that can be used for the purposes of identity theft, right?
(3) The supplemental document wants me at the end to put my name, and social security number. Sure, I put in my social security on the CIA website for my application, and can understand this might be helpful for filing purposes. But to just write it out in a .doc, and send it through email?
(4) The document itself seems rather infantile. I'm a graduate student applying, and I'm being asked what one of my favorite courses at university was? On the other hand, it looks as though they're using perhaps the same "supplemental information form" across the board? They mention that if you were a High School student applying, then to talk about why you want to choose a certain major.
(5) There's also just random things here and there that set off alerts. The email signed off as:
No name. No comma. There's a grammatical mistake in the document, something like missing the "to" for what should be a word in the infinitive. The word "major", as in a college major, was located in the middle of a sentence but the 'm' was capitalized. They ask why do I want to work for "this organization." Really? Non-descript terms? That's not helping me feel more comfortable.
I mean, the email just looks incredibly scammy. But despite all that, I still can't reconcile how this could be a fraudulent email given the first three positive points I made. Am I missing something here?