Clemson University students have been the target of scam attempts throughout this year, but numbers have increased dramatically in the past few weeks. The most frequent type of scam attempt is the “job offer scam” via email. These emails are typically for job offers or internships that promise a weekly paycheck of $300-$400, and is often signed by someone impersonating a Clemson University professor.
Ways to avoid falling victim to one of these scams:
If you’re not sure if an email is legitimate, ask us! Contact the career center and we will be happy to help. CCIT is also a great resource and their Office of Information Security works diligently to monitor and combat threats to the Clemson community. You can also visit CCIT's Cybersecurity Alerts page to learn more about specific threats and scam attempts.
Job searching can be a very vulnerable time for an individual—both emotionally, as well as the fact that your personal information (including full name, address, phone number, etc.) is being repeatedly sent to others via e-mail or through applying for jobs on websites. Scam artists can and have taken advantage of this. That is why it is important to be very careful to avoid job seeker scams during your search for employment. Most job postings are legitimate, but here is some information and tips to avoid job seeker scams.
There are six common types of job seeker scams, but new strategies are developed often:
Want to earn some money while looking for a full-time job? If so, you might be tempted by an offer to be a mystery shopper. It sounds legitimate enough: make a particular purchase in a store or restaurant, and then evaluate your experience. The retailer gets reliable feedback about its service, and you get to keep the product and perhaps a small payment.
You might get a phone call, email, letter or ad that claims you can make good money as a mystery shopper. These offers sound appealing, but according to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the nation’s consumer protection agency, they are likely to be scams.
Some dishonest marketers ask you to pay a fee to get information about a certification program, a directory of mystery shopping companies, or a guarantee of a mystery shopping job. But there’s no need to pay to get into the mystery shopper business. Search the Internet for mystery shopping companies that are accepting applications, and know that legitimate companies don’t charge an application fee.
The international check cashing scam involves transferring funds internationally. The scam artist attempts to reassure the victim by offering apparently legal contracts, forged or false documents bearing company letterhead, false letters of credit, payment schedules and bank drafts. Once the scammer has obtained the victim's trust, checks, money orders or wire deposits are sent to the victim for "processing." The victim is asked to cash the check or money order (wire deposits will send the money directly to the victim's account) and send a percentage of the funds back to its origination.
The need for the "middle man" is often explained as being a way around international fees or taxes. Once the funds are sent back to the scammers (usually the victim is told to keep a percentage for themselves, as payment for their services), the victim's bank or financial institution learns that the check/money order/wire transfer was fraudulent. The funds are then subtracted from the victim's account and he or she is made liable for the lost money.
The Job Posting and Check Cashing Scam is similar to the scam above but involves the posting of what appears to be a very legitimate job opportunity through a reputable web site like a schools jobs board, monster.com, careerbuilder.com, and so forth. The postings appear to be legitimate job openings, but after submitting a resume, applicants are then asked to send checks or money orders to continue the application process.
In some cases, applicants are "hired" and then asked to handle a monetary transaction between the employer and a buyer or supplier as a "job task." To complete the transaction will involve the applicant sending money from his or her own checking account. The employer will instruct the applicant to expect a package, usually containing a check, that is to be deposited into the applicants account. The applicant is then instructed to wire transfer the money, minus an "administrative fee" as their compensation, to the employer.
Some Clemson users are seeing an email offering the recipient a job position based on a claim that they reviewed the user’s resume from a Clemson Career Center upload. The Clemson user is instructed to setup a Telegram account and send information to their Hiring Manager at [insert employer name].
This is not a valid email and is part of a cybercriminal scam. Users should not reply to this email or click on any links within the email.
Clemson Employees who receive this email can report it using the Report Phishing button in Outlook. Students can forward it to firstname.lastname@example.org. Once reported, users should delete the email.
Students should be aware of these types of scams and should know that no legitimate employer will ask for an applicant to send money or handle a monetary transaction as part of the application process or to use their personal accounts to conduct company business.
Reshipping scams often begin with an employment offer, usually via e-mail. As with the Nigerian scam, these "employers" offer bogus contracts and other documentation to make them appear legitimate. Once the victim's trust has been obtained, packages are shipped to the victim's residence with instructions to reship the packages to another address. Once the package has been reshipped, the victim is "guilty" of receiving and shipping stolen property. This often leads to a visit from police, as the return address or shipping receipts lead back to the victim.
These scams usually incorporate a "registration fee" which must be paid before work begins. Once this fee has been paid, the "employee" is asked to post an ad -- often the exact same ad that the "employee" responded to -- using his or her own contact info. Once the "employee" receives a response to their ad, he or she will stuff an envelope with information/instructions on how to get started and mail it to the new applicant. The victim is "paid" based on the number of responses received from the advertisement.
If you have never heard of a web site before, and you are suspicious of it being a scam, Google the URL with the word scam next to it (e.g. “www.popupcareers.com scam”) and research the company. If it is a scam, there will most likely be information out there from previous victims.
Remember: If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.