For students who check their Crimson email account regularly, emails sent from CampusBuddy.com have been frequently popping up in the past few weeks. This website, which links both classmates to one another and provides information such as professor reviews and class grade distribution, has been sending emails to University of Alabama students about scholarships and student loans. While this would be valuable information from any other source, these emails have been spam in most mailboxes.
Although the information included in the email pertains to the University of Alabama, the email address accounts are managed by Google, making the CampusBuddy.com emails simply spam that oftentimes plagues those with Google accounts.
Ashley Ewing, information security officer for the University of Alabama, said that the student Crimson email addresses does not come through the University in any way.
“We have very little authority to be able to block any email,” he said. “That would be something totally up to Google to do that. It would be like any other spam coming in.”
Ewing suggests that for students that don’t want to get the email to mark it as spam and block it. Ewing said he originally believed the emails to be a phishing attack, in which a fake website is set up and used to obtain personal information; however, after checking out the website, he determined the emails were just spam.
Cathy Andreen, assistant director of media relations, said the University became aware some students had received the emails late last week, but the University does not endorse CampusBuddy.com.
While the emails are spam, CampusBuddy.com is a valid website but should not be the first source of information for scholarships or student loans.
Andreen said students should go to the official UA financial aid site to obtain “accurate and official information” at financialaid.ua.edu.
Other universities have had to deal with spam from CampusBuddy.com, too. In 2008, students at Illinois State University received emails from the website; however, the emails appeared to have been sent from someone within Illinois State University. The University urged students to be wary of the email because of the spoof address and to delete it.
Ewing said he believes spamming to be the wrong way for CampusBuddy.com to attract users.
“If they’re offering a valid service to students, you shouldn’t have to spam them to get them to come and take advantage of things that they offer,” he said.