Employment scam targeting college students nationally

(WISH Photo, file)

(WISH) – An employment scam is targeting college students across the United States. The scam is a financial loss for students.

According to a release, scammers are advertising fake job opportunities on college employment websites, and some students are receiving emails on their school accounts about the phony positions.

Here’s how the scam works:

  • Scammers post fake online job advertisements to recruit college students for administrative positions.
  • The student employee receives counterfeit checks in the mail or via e-mail and is instructed to deposit the checks into their personal checking account.
  • The scammer then directs the student to withdraw the funds from their checking account and send a portion, via wire transfer, to another individual (The transfer of funds is typically to a “vendor”, purportedly for equipment, materials, or software necessary for the job).
  • The checks are confirmed to be fraudulent by the bank.

Examples of the email scams: 

  • “You will need some materials/software and also a time tracker to commence your training and orientation and also you need the software to get started with work. The funds for the software will be provided for you by the company via check. Make sure you use them as instructed for the software and I will refer you to the vendor you are to purchase them from, okay.”
  • “I have forwarded your start-up progress report to the HR Dept. and they will be facilitating your start-up funds with which you will be getting your working equipment from vendors and getting started with training.”
  • “Enclosed is your first check. Please cash the check, take $300 out as your pay, and send the rest to the vendor for supplies.”

The consequences of falling for the scam: 

  • Bank account may be closed due to fraudulent activity
  • Report could be filed by the bank with a credit bureau or law enforcement agency
  • Student responsible for reimbursing their bank the amount of the counterfeit checks
  • Could affect the student’s credit record
  • Student could be vulnerable to identity theft
  • Scammers could use the money to fund illicit criminal or terrorist activity

How to protect yourself from this scam:

  • Do not ever accept a job that requires depositing checks into your account or wiring portions to others or accounts
  • Look for poor use of the English language in emails such as incorrect grammar, capitalization, and tenses (Many scammers are not native English speakers).
  • Forward emails to the college’s IT office and report to the FBI
  • Inform your friends to be on the lookout for the scam

If you are a victim of this scam or an internet-related scam, you are asked to notify your campus police, as well as file a complaint with the FBI’s Internet Crime Complain Center. Click here to complain.