Simon Fraser University email users were hit by a Bitcoin scam email that emulated the school graphics and referenced a university web page on the evening of November 14. The scam claimed that SFU was offering a “Bitcoin Wallet” and promised gift cards to the campus bookstore for the first 20 users to start using the service.
SFU IT Services has since deactivated the webpage mentioned in the email and said the incident “is now under investigation.” In a warning posted online and sent by email, the institution warned students to “not send Bitcoin to the Bitcoin Wallet Address noted in the email message.”
With the subject line reading “Simon Fraser Bitcoin Wallet,” the fraudulent email claimed that students could receive a five per cent discount on student fees paid through bitcoins and also convert the cryptocurrency into cash with no additional fees.
The email listed a single address where students could deposit their bitcoins, a red flag for people who use the open-source digital payment system which should have a unique address for each transaction.
The value of bitcoins varies widely, but it has recently experienced a surge since the start of the month. As of November 16, the value had reached almost $10,000, according to the Canadian Bitcoin Index. The increase is massive compared to its value in previous years.
In 2015, the SFU Bookstore was the first campus bookstore in the country to begin accepting bitcoins and to offer vending machines on each of its three campuses.