The FBI is issuing a new warning about a college student employment scam that they first warned us about three years ago. Scammers lure students into the scam through ads on college employment websites or through emails in which the students are told that they can do administrative work from their dorm room. Once the victim falls for the bait, he or she is sent what appears to be a legitimate check that the student is directed to deposit into their checking account and use some of the funds to obtain equipment, software or other materials necessary to perform their job.
Unfortunately, the check is counterfeit. After the student has wired funds from his or her own account, as requested by the scammer, he or she learns that the check has bounced, but the money wired from his or her own account to the scammers is lost forever.
Here is an example of one of the emails used in this scam:
“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.”
The FBI advises students to never accept a job that necessitates depositing checks into your account or wiring funds to other people. This is a telltale sign of many scams. Whenever you receive a check, wait for your bank to tell you that the check has fully cleared before you consider the funds as actually being in your account. Don’t rely on provisional credit which is given by your bank after a few days, but which can be rescinded once a check bounces and never accept a check for more than what is owed with the intention to send back the rest or to someone else. That is always a scam. Also be wary whenever you are asked to wire funds because this is a common theme in many scams because it is difficult to trace and impossible to stop.