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Harvard University IT Alerts Campus to Spoofed Calls

By Jonah S. Berger, Crimson Staff Writer

Harvard was “barraged” with spoofed phone calls Monday morning, according to an alert issued by Harvard University Information Technology.

The spoof calls began at 9:30 a.m. Monday and affected “several of Harvard’s professional schools,” the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, and the University’s central administration, HUIT spokesperson Acacia Matheson wrote in an emailed statement.

Matheson wrote that the source of the robocalls appeared to be a “valid phone number” belonging to China’s Embassy in the United States.

She added that HUIT was making efforts to resolve the matter.

“Harvard University IT has taken steps to block incoming calls from the number temporarily and will continue to work closely with our telecommunications provider to investigate this incident and pursue a longer-term solution,” she wrote.

In the email, Matheson reiterated the original alert’s message to recipients of the robocalls: Ignore the calls.

“These calls are a scam. Recipients should hang-up or let the call go to voicemail,” she wrote. “Do not respond to the phone message or menu options, and do not provide any personal information.”

At 3:37 p.m, a second alert on HUIT’s website notified Harvard affiliates that the issue had been resolved: “Inbound call volumes have returned to normal levels.”

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