Nidhi Razdan phishing attack: Harvard doesn’t have journalism department

Published on Jan 16, 2021 10:56 AM IST

Razdan said she has lodged a complaint with the police and requested “immediate steps to identify, apprehend and prosecute perpetrators of this abominable attack".

Nidhi Razdan issued a statement to say that she was victim of a phishing attack.(Yogesh Kumar/Hindustan Times )
Nidhi Razdan issued a statement to say that she was victim of a phishing attack.(Yogesh Kumar/Hindustan Times )
By, Washington

Harvard University’s faculty of arts and sciences does not have a department of journalism, at which, a former NDTV anchor was purportedly offered a teaching position in a phishing attack.

After a careful review of its people-related systems, Harvard is understood to have found no record of, nor any knowledge of, an appointment involving the former TV news anchor, Nidhi Razdan.

Razdan has said in a statement she accepted a job offer for the position of associate professor of journalism at Harvard University in 2020, but she began noticing a number of “administrative anomalies” after her joining date was shifted from September 2020 to January 2021, ostensibly because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Harvard is one of the few US institutions of higher learning to have switched entirely to online teaching because of the pandemic, which hit this country the hardest. Many other institutions have opted for a hybrid model of online and in-person teaching.

Razdan said she got in touch with Harvard because of the anomalies, which she said she had initially dismissed as a manifestation of the “new normal” caused by the pandemic.

Razdan said she provided Harvard some of the “correspondence” she had been sent in relation to the employment offer. “After hearing from the University, I have now learnt that I have been a victim of a sophisticated and coordinated phishing attack,” she wrote in her statement on the issue.

Phishing is a cyber-crime in which fraudsters pose as someone trustworthy to lure victims into sharing personal information.

Razdan said in her statement she has lodged a complaint with the police and requested “immediate steps to identify, apprehend and prosecute perpetrators of this abominable attack”.

Razdan’s statement was not clear which Harvard school or faculty made her the purported offer. The Harvard University’s Faculty of Arts and Sciences does not have a department of journalism. In fact, the university does not have a professional school of journalism.

It is understood that names referenced as members of human resources in the documents shared by Razdan were not found on Harvard’s employee rolls and a number of irregularities are understood to have been found by Harvard in the agreement document, which would have formalized the purported employment offer.

For one, Harvard faculty appointments are not graded as might have been the case in Razdan’s documents, shared with the university.

Two, many of the provisions in the agreement do not apply to Harvard faculty members. It could not be immediately ascertained what those provisions were.

Third, and lastly, two of the claimed signatories of the agreement are believed to have indicated that they did not execute the attached agreement.

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