RIT Information Security Advisory - Scam Watch
We've seen a lot of spam over the last few weeks offering everything from cash loans to faculty and staff, various jobs for students, mortgage refinancing, etc. Every year, a few members of the RIT community fall for various scams. You may recognize some of the scams below.
Why I’m Receiving This
We're seeing the following scams:
- Faculty & Staff: Apply online for a Cash Advance Loan—RIT faculty and staff are currently receiving offers of cash advance loans. Some of these may be "legitimate" loans, but they're often high interest and secured by your car or other property. They may also be examples of Advance Fee Fraud, where you send a fee in advance and provide your bank account information. Does anyone see any danger in that?
- Mystery Shopper—many of us have received info about Mystery Shopper jobs paying $250 or so per job. Sounds great, doesn't it? Almost all of these jobs are bogus and involve providing bank account information and payment through counterfeit checks.
- Home Financing—There are a number of different home financing schemes, ranging from foreclosure relief to sub-prime refinancing rates. The FBI link below provides more information.
In addition to the current scams listed above, RIT students have fallen victim to the following in the last couple of years:
- Deaf Lottery—an RIT student was contacted by a Facebook Friend who informed him he had won a deaf lottery. The student was then contacted by an "administrator" through instant messaging. During the course of the scam, the student provided his bank account information and lost hundreds of dollars.
- 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.
- Personal ads—an RIT student reported that he responded to a Craigslist Personal Ad that he found “enticing.” He exchanged pictures with the person in the ad who requested that he sign up for an account on saferaffair.com under the pretense that he wasn’t some “crazy stalker.” The website requested personal information and a credit card number “to verify his identity.” When he looked up the person’s email address he found that there were hundreds of complaints that the address belonged to a scammer.
- 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.
- Financial emergency overseas—several RIT people received an urgent note from a known RIT student regarding a robbery he had suffered overseas. The note requested the recipient to wire funds ASAP so that the individual could buy a plane ticket home. The RIT student’s Facebook account was compromised and used to send this message to his Facebook friends
- Craigslist—There are MANY scams circulating on Craigslist. Several RIT peopel listed items for sale and were contacted by "buyers" who sent the sellers cashier's checks and asked them to refund the difference. Although the checks appeared legitimate, they were counterfeit. There are also reports about scams connected to room reservations, etc.
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.
- RIT provides anti-virus software to RIT faculty, staff, and students. Anti-virus software will provide some protection against malicious software.
- The RIT Information Security Office provides information on Safe Social Networking and other safe practices http://www.rit.edu/security
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.
- If you've received what you believe to be a scam email, send the email to email@example.com and forward us a copy at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For More Information
- Scam Alert: Payday, Title, and Signature Loans http://www.usa.gov/topics/consumer/scams-fraud/money/loan-scams.html
- Mystery Shopper Scams http://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0053-mystery-shopper-scams
- Mortgage Fraud http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/investigate/white_collar/mortgage-fraud/mort...
- Fraud Guide: Craigslist Scams http://www.fraudguides.com/internet-craigslist-scams.asp
- Deaf Lottery Scam http://nad.org/news/2009/9/scam-alert
- Lottery Scams http://travel.state.gov/travel/cis_pa_tw/cis/cis_2475.html
- Roommate Scams http://ezinearticles.com/?Beware-of-Roommate-Scams&id=1499613
- FTC OnGuard Online http://www.onguardonline.gov/