Cyber criminals are taking advantage of college students looking for work and wanting to make extra money during their limited free time. Scammers target student emails and places students look for work and to connect with employers. Below you will find some of the scams meant to target students looking for a job.
The scam starts with an online job posting seeking college students for administrative positions. The cyber criminal poses as an employer and sends the student a “start-up” funds via check to deposit in their account. The scammer then directs the student to send a portion of the funds via wire transfer to a “vendor” for supplies or other equipment. The checks are confirmed to be fraudulent by the bank, and the student is responsible for covering the fraudulent check amount and is out the money they wire transferred.
“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.”
Consequences of participating in this scam:
- Your 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.
- You are responsible for reimbursing the bank the amount of the counterfeit checks.
- Your credit record could be adversely affected.
- Scammers may collect personal information while posing as an employer, leaving you vulnerable to identity theft.
How to protect yourself from this scam:
- Never accept a job that requires depositing checks into your account or wiring portions to other individuals or accounts.
- Look for poor use of the English language in e-mails such as incorrect grammar, capitalization, and tenses.
- Forward suspicious e-mails to TechHelp@fitnyc.edu
LinkedIn is a great way to network and connect with prospective employers, but cybercriminals have taken advantage of the social media sites popularity to create new scams.
Emails “appearing” to be from LinkedIn
A variation of a phishing email, cybercriminals create an authentic looking email mimicking a LinkedIn requests to be added to your network. The links within the email often take the recipient to malicious websites or embed software on your computer.
To protect yourself from this threat, never accept requests via an email. Log in to LinkedIn to verify the request is legitimate.
Fake accounts posing as connections and recruiters
Even accepting requests via LinkedIn should be done with caution. Scammers create fake LinkedIn profiles and send out spam invitations to connect. The invitations arrive in your LinkedIn inbox, which gives it an appearance of authenticity, especially if they have successfully connected to other people you might know. They can either link to malicious websites or try to get students to fall for an employment scam.
One way to protect yourself is not to accept invitations from anyone you don’t know. But part of the benefit of LinkedIn is networking, so that may not help you achieve your job seeking goals. Alternatively, there are a few things to look out for that might identify the fraudster.
- The profile is not complete – in fact, most sections are blank or only have a couple of sentences
- There are lots of misspellings
- The photo is not of a person (it could be a logo), or it looks very familiar; it might be a stock photo. You can copy the image and perform a google image search.
- Seach for the sender on Google and other social media platforms – do they have a presence?