Cyber Threat Alert: Hardship Fund Scam

By DoIT Communications

Date Released: 4/8/2022


 COVID-19 SUNY Hardship Fund Scam


Hello All:


Please proceed with caution if you receive an email with an attachment or a link to any University login page claiming to have information about COVID-19. Multiple Universities have been targeted in this way of late with themes and subject lines indicating that the University is sending you information regarding a COVID-19 variant like Omicron or your COVID-19 test results, when the actual goal is to steal your login credentials or infect your computer with a virus. The latest variation of this is an email claiming to provide information on benefits to assist SUNY employees and students affected by hardship. See the sample text below:


****Scam Email Sample Begin**** 

“The State University of New York has decided to assist all employees and students in getting through the current community hardship caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.


Beginning this week, on Wednesday, April 6, 2022, the State University of New York will provide up to $4,000 in financial assistance to all employees and students experiencing financial hardship as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.


To register successfully, visit the SUNY COVID-19 Benefits page and carefully follow all instructions, entering the most relevant information.


Through the COVID-19 Support program, Green Dot and the State University of New York are collaborating to provide assistance during the COVID-19 crisis.


Providing assistance to our employees, students, and community is critical during these trying times.


With sincere gratitude,


Samuel Arrevillaga   (NOTE! Not a real SUNY student or employee)

The State University of New York.

COVID-19 Support Program”

****Scam Email Sample End**** 



What can you do about it if you receive one of these emails?

  1. Always verify that an email is legitimate prior to clicking on a link or opening an attachment by reviewing any potential red flags or checking directly with the sender through previously established communication channels. Check the Stronger Together website for the latest University COVID-19 guidance.

  2. Forward suspicious emails to

  3. Flag the message as phishing. The method for doing so varies slightly depending upon what email system you are on. If using Google, it’s as easy as pressing the three dots next to the reply button and choosing “Report Phishing.” 


If you fall victim to one of these scams, do not panic. Instead, immediately change your NetID password and open a ticket for further assistance via


Thank you for your diligence and attention to this matter.