The FBI has released a public service announcement warning college students of common employment scams, These scams often result in financial loss to participating students.
The FBI public service announcement described general employment scams targeting college students. Although we haven’t had any cases reported to us recently, RIT students have fallen victim to various employment scams previously, including ones similar to the example described below. We want to help you identify future scams.
How the Scam Words (from the FBI PSA)
- Scammers post online job advertisements soliciting 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. Often, the transfer of funds is to a "vendor", purportedly for equipment, materials, or software necessary for the job.
- Subsequently, the checks are confirmed to be fraudulent by the bank.
Examples of employment scam emails
“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.”
In addition to the scam listed above, RIT students have fallen victim to the following employment-related scams in the last few years:
- USA Home Rentals - RIT students applied for a job listed by USA Home Rentals and were subsequently sent checks endorsed from another company (United Craft, Inc.). The students were instructed to deposit the money, keep $100, and send the remainder through MoneyGram to an address in South Africa. The students learned later that the checks were fraudulent. This example is similar to the scam described by the FBI.
- Fake apartment listing - a couple of RIT students were moving to the west coast for co-op jobs. They found a listing for an apartment and sent a hefty deposit. When they arrived on the west coast, there was no apartment.
- Freelance photographer request - an RIT student received a letter from a firm seeking to employ the student to shoot an upcoming out-of-town event. They offered the student $500/hour for his time and mailed the student a check for $2900 with instructions to cash the check, retain a portion of the funds, and forward the remaining share to the “store manager.” This is a common scam where someone sends a counterfeit check and asks for a portion of the check to be wired to someone else.
What RIT is Doing
- RIT Information Security and Public Safety work to detect these threats and report them to the RIT community as they occur.
The RIT Information Security Office provides a list of Red Flags and online resources to help you identify job and employment scams https://www.rit.edu/security/content/job-employment-scams
What You can Do
- If you are the recipient or victim of an online scam, contact RIT Public Safety at (585) 475-2853.
If you believe your password may have been compromised, contact the appropriate help desk immediately. Students should contact the ITS HelpDesk at (585) 475-4357 (phone), (585) 475-2810 (TTY).
If you suspect the presence of malicious content on an RIT web site, contact the Information Security Office at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For More Information
- FBI PSA <https://www.ic3.gov/media/2017/170118.aspx>
Federal Trade Commission Consumer Information Job Scams <http://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0243-job-scams>
Fraud Guide: Craigslist Scams <http://www.fraudguides.com/internet-craigslist-scams.asp>
Deaf Lottery Scam <http://www.nad.org/node/437>
Roommate Scams <http://ezinearticles.com/?Beware-of-Roommate-Scams&id=1499613>
- Mystery Shopper Scams <http://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0053-mystery-shopper-scams>
Quick Infosec Tip: Most security pundits described 2016 as the year of Ransomware. Security experts expect to see many more ransomware attempts in 2017. Visit our ransomware page at https://www.rit.edu/security/content/ransomware-0 for more information.