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5 Questions with... an Information Security Officer

Rob Levett-Millett is an Information Security Officer at Warwick. He's part of the team tasked with keeping us safe from scams, cyber crime and information security threats.

Tell us a little about your role in relation to information security and scams?

I’m an information security officer. One significant threat to information security is phishing. Through working on a few initiatives to help combat phishing at the University, we learned of the frightening truth of just how common it is for students to be targeted by scammers. It's now my mission to keep the University community as well-informed as it can be so scams can be avoided.

rob seated at a desk with cap and gownWhat are the common traits in scams?

Scams have become more elaborate in recent years and are incredibly varied. But at their core, they are almost always after money or information. They might just ask for this outright, they might try and extort it, they might play on your emotions (fear, urgency, hope etc.) or they might use fraudulent communication as a vehicle for cyber threats like malware. In the worst cases, they might even try to extort their victims. They’re not always easy to spot, and even the most well-informed people can fall victim if they’re not vigilant.

What’s the best advice you can share to help avoid scams?

It’s often as simple as being cautious. Be suspicious of any unsolicited contact that asks for information, money, or anything of value, regardless of what form the contact takes. Whether it’s online, on the phone or in person. Even if it looks official or carries with it some urgency, take the time to independently verify who you’re speaking to. E.g. if someone calls you claiming to be from your bank, take their name, look up the proper contact details for the bank and call back. Don’t give potential scammers anything. If you suspect something is a scam, end contact until you can verify who you’re really speaking with.

Are there any current prolific scams?

Yes, many! We’re all potential victims of the more common scams. The pandemic has seen new attempts at defrauding people emerge with scammers mimicking government bodies and the NHS, to give two examples. There are also prominent scams that target the student community across the country specifically. Tuition fee or maintenance loan scams are common, as are visa scams that purposefully target international students.

What should members of Warwick’s community do if they receive a scam call or email?

If you receive a suspicious email to your Warwick address, or you receive a suspicious email claiming that it’s from the University, inform the IT HelpDesk at For all other instances, block scam email addresses and numbers and mark them as spam. The same applies to all forms of electronic communication. Scammers use social media too! If you fall victim to a scam as a student, report it to Warwick's Community Safety Team and to Action Fraud (which is the national cyber crime reporting service) immediately. Don’t be afraid or feel ashamed to speak out.

Five cheeky bonus questions

What’s your favourite meal to cook?

Anything with roast potatoes (my roast is unrivalled, and I dare anyone to challenge me!).

Do you have any pets?

Sadly, none at the moment. But I’m putting in a lot of groundwork to make friends with my neighbours’ cats.

What’s your dream holiday destination?

Iceland. The only Nordic country I’ve not visited yet. But that hopefully changes next year.

How did you get into a career in information security?

I did a Master's in International Security at Warwick, then briefly had a job handling information from the NHS. The skills I gained from both of those experiences combined to give me a good excuse to come back to Warwick in my current role.

Where is your favourite green space on campus?

Probably the area around Lakeside Village. I’m immensely jealous of anyone who gets to wake up to the view of the lake… mostly because all I can see from my bedroom window is a car park.

Find out more about scams and how to stay vigilant over at our Stay Safe Hub. Here you can find digital security updates, cyber security tips, advice when renting accommodation and advice on how to stay safe at home and in the local area.