Phishing Alert: Housing Contract Scam

Some U-M community members reported receiving this email. It is fraudulent or malicious. Do not respond, click any link in it, or provide personal information or money. See Phishing & Scams for more tips. If you need help, contact the ITS Service Center.

Date Sent: 
Monday, June 17, 2024

Update: June 17, 2024

Several Hall Directors are being impersonated and used to send emails:

  • Recent attempts of this scam impersonate U-M Residence Hall Directors, and involve a fake housing contract and fraudulent invoice.
  • The emails have subjects such as:

An email scam that impersonates U-M housing staff aims to induce the recipient to sign a fake "housing contract" and then make a "rent" payment to the scammer.
Beware of email purporting to be from U-M staff but coming from addresses. University of Michigan staff do not use private gmail addresses for U-M business. Email from U-M staff will come from a address.

Some examples of actual text from these scam emails are at the bottom of this page.

What to Watch Out For

Fraudulent Email Impersonating U-M Housing Staff

This scam starts with an email impersonating a U-M Housing staff member. Some tricks used to make the email look legitimate include:

  • The email is personalized with the name of the recipient in the salutation.
  • The message mentions the Regents of the University to gain legitimacy. Housing contracts are not sent to Regents of the University.
  • The name of the sender is of a legitimate U-M staff or faculty. When the sender can be looked up in the MCommunity directory, the recipient may fail to notice that the email address is not
  • The email signature uses a Professor title to make the email look legitimate. Professors are not Hall Directors and would not coordinate housing accommodations.

Red Flags

The scammers request the recipient's assistance in a way that asks for personal information (complete an Undergraduate Housing Allotment Form) and/or financial remittances (pay deposit or rent). The following should be considered a red flag:

  • Non email address of sender. All official communication from the University of Michigan will come from senders with email addresses. Note that in some cases the sending email address may be spoofed, which means that it will look exactly like a real email address. You can find out How to Spot a Spoof on Safe Computing.
  • Unusual job titles and responsibilities. Regents of the University processing housing contracts or professors performing the responsibilities of Hall Directors are all an indication that the message is not coming from a legitimate source.
  • Typos. The email contains typos and inconsistent capitalization.

How to Protect You and U-M

Do not reply. If you receive a suspicious message that appears to be from someone at U-M, look for signs that the email is fraudulent. Most phishing and scams can be spotted quickly. If you find obvious signs of a scam, delete the email, do not reply to it.

Verify and Contact. If there are no obvious signs of phishing but the email content is suspicious (offers of jobs you have not applied for, or contact from someone you do not know, for example), look up that sender's contact information in the MCommunity directory and email or call them yourself instead of using the reply-to in email or the information provided in the email.

Report Phishing and other Email Abuse. ITS Information Assurance has a process for reporting suspicious, abusive, or scam email. Your reports help us to tailor technical responses and provide warnings and guidance to the U-M community.

If you get caught or are concerned that your have given personal information or payment to someone attempting to scam you:

Scam Examples

Please note that to protect the privacy of faculty, staff, and students, actual names and uniqnames may be removed or replaced with generic terms or marked as redacted.

Examples of email subject lines

  • Umich First Year Students Late Housing Registration
  • Acknowledgement of Signed Contract
  • Corrections on your Housing Contract""Fwd: Customer: CC34497 Invoice: 671525
  • Re: Allington Housing Contract
  • Signed Housing Contract Acknowledgement
  • U-M Freshman Housing Contract
  • M Housing Contract Acknowledgement
  • U-M Student M Housing Contract - Signed

Example 1 of fraudulent housing staff email

From: [redacted] <[email protected]>

Subject: Umich First Year Students Late Housing Registration


I am  Professor [redacted] at the University of Michigan. I have been instructed by the Office of Students Affairs and the Michigan Housing Community to guide you in securing suitable housing accommodation here at Umich.

Kindly reply with your name and student ID along with a date and time convenient to you to discuss your information, which will determine how we will implement your housing.

I will be open to answer any questions you may have regarding your accommodation. After which you will proceed to sign the Undergraduate Housing Allotment Registration Form which I will send to you at the end of our discussion via mail.

Thank you for your attention to this matter, and I hope to hear from you soon.

Example 2 of fraudulent housing staff email

From: [redacted] <[redacted]>

Subject: Re: Allington Housing Contract

Hello [redacted],

I hereby acknowledge that you have signed your M Housing Contract, which will now be delivered to the Regents of the University of Michigan.

After you have paid your housing rent, your contract will be made available in your housing application on your school portal when the housing allotment list is released.

In order for the Regent of the University of Michigan to process your M Housing invoice through the Undergraduate Room and Board Rates, I will forward to you the Undergraduate Housing Allotment Form to fill out.

Please ensure you fill out this form as soon as it gets to you to enable the regents to process your contract and implement your housing at Umich Residence Hall.

Congratulations on your admission to the University of Michigan. I look forward to having you on campus.

Professor [redacted]

Hall Director

University of Michigan

Phishing Email or Site Screenshot: 
Example of phishing