Students at colleges and universities are being targeted by a work-at-home employment scam through emails that appear to be sent from a college or university. The scammers obtain personal information from the student while posing as a college or university representative. They convince students to cash counterfeit checks and send them the money.
“Students who fall victim to this scam could face serious repercussions to their financial stability and credit record,” said Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody. “I am urging all students currently enrolled at Florida colleges and universities to take extra precaution when receiving online job offers.”
The scheme involves scammers sending online job advertisements offering college students an administrative position, tricking the student into believing the email is from a college or university representative by using an email address ending in “.edu.” As part of the scheme, the student receives counterfeit checks in the mail, or by email, and is instructed to deposit the checks into a personal checking account. The scammers then direct the student to withdraw the money and make a payment necessary for the job. Often, after the student sends the money, the checks are confirmed to be fraudulent by the bank.
Students falling victim to the scam have bank accounts closed due to fraudulent activity and a report filed by the bank with a credit bureau or law enforcement agency, according to the agency’s Consumer Protection Division. In addition, the student would be responsible for reimbursing the bank for the total amount of the counterfeit checks, often times resulting in an adverse effect on the student’s credit record.
To avoid employment scams like this:
- Research the company before accepting any job offer. Does the company have a professional website and legitimate contact information? Search for what others are saying about experiences with the company.
- Locate contact information for the sender through the school’s website and confirm whether the job offer is real If the solicitor is communicating by email.
- Look for red flags, such as typos and grammatical errors. Offers of employment or pay without an interview are another sign of an employment scam.
- Never send funds in the form of cash, checks, gift cards, or wire transfers to secure a job or as part of an assigned duty by a new employer.