The Career Center and the University Police Department want to make students and faculty aware of a recent scam that has reached the University and is on the rise nationally.
How the scam works:
- The scam is called a fake check scam and typically consists of a scammer replying to online postings from individuals offering items for sale or individuals offering services such as educational tutoring, personal assistant and house or dog sitting.
- Once in contact, the scammer will offer to pay for the item or services in advance and will send the victim a check for an amount which is much more than what is owed.
- The scammer will then instruct the victim to deposit the check into their bank account and will then ask the victim to send all or part of the money back via money transfer, gift cards or cryptocurrency.
- After approximately a week, the check is returned to the bank as being fraudulent, causing the victim to lose the money that they sent the scammer.
Consequences of participating in this scam:
- The student's bank account may be closed due to fraudulent activity and a report could be filed by the bank with a credit bureau or law enforcement agency.
- The student is responsible for reimbursing the bank the amount of the counterfeit checks.
- The scamming incident could adversely affect the student’s credit record.
- The scammers often obtain personal information from the student while posing as their employer, leaving them vulnerable to identity theft.
- Scammers seeking to acquire funds through fraudulent methods could potentially utilize the money to fund illicit criminal or terrorist activity.
The Career Center’s Handshake career management platform offers students access to approved and verified employers. The Career Center does not release your personal information to employers. Once you have activated your Handshake profile you may choose to make your profile public (visible to employers and other students on Handshake) or keep it private. If you make your profile public, approved employer representatives can message you in Handshake (see How to Change Your Student Profile Privacy Setting.)
If you are using external (non-Handshake) job posting websites to search for employment, you must be vigilant in researching and verifying posted positions and contacts. Remember that scammers can find a variety of personal contact information on the web by compromising email accounts. As a result, it is possible that you could receive an unsolicited phishing email, text message, or phone call from a fraudulent contact regarding an alleged employment opportunity.
Tips to avoiding scams and recognizing suspicious job postings:
- Never accept a check for a dollar amount which is more than what was agreed upon
- If you are asked to send money, cash checks or transfer funds it is most likely a scam.
- Never use money from a check to send gift cards, money orders, money, or cryptocurrency to strangers or someone you just met. Never send money back to the person who sent you the check.
- Do not provide your personal or financial account information via email or a messaging service.
- Observe all communications for spelling errors and poor grammar in the ad.
- Be suspicious if the individual uses a personal email account like Gmail, Yahoo, or Hotmail.
- If the offer is too good to be true it is most likely not true.
- Report any suspicious communication or fraudulent activity to your local police department.