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The University Police has received a report from a student who was the victim of an internet fraud. The victim received an unsolicited email from a Gmail account seeking employees for a part-time data-entry job that offers great pay and a flexible schedule. The position was titled “Executive Assistant/Bookkeeper for Students (Remotely)”. The advertisement asked the student to provide a name and phone number to have an interview scheduled.
Once the victim contacts the employer, they supply their address and are sent a check to cash immediately. They are instructed to either deposit it in their account and keep a small portion for their salary while sending the remainder electronically to the employer through a payment system or just cash and send the funds through a payment system. The victim only later finds out that the check was counterfeit and that they lost the money associated with cashing the check. In the reported case, the victim lost almost $1,200, which was nearly all the money the student had in savings.
The campus community is reminded that fraudsters are creative and convincing. They often use email addresses that require little to no verification and ask for immediate response while also demanding that you not communicate with anyone else about the transaction. They know that if you wait too long, you will find out it’s fraudulent, or someone will tell you that it’s a fraud attempt.
There have also been instances where members of our campus community report unsolicited contacts from fraudsters asking for money to repay debts to a governmental entity and threatening arrest. Sometimes they will even spoof a legitimate government agency’s phone number to commit the fraud.
Never send money to anyone based on an unsolicited request. Beware of online job advertisements, especially ones that offer to send you money and require you to send them money after the deposit. If in doubt, you can visit any of your local law enforcement agencies, including the University Police, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 573-341-4300.
Remember, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
If you are a victim of fraud, please visit the FBI website, complaint.ic3.gov.