If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
Like phishing, an easy way to identify scams is that they always require immediate action from you: There’s a warrant for your arrest. You have unpaid fines. Your personal information has been compromised. This job will be gone tomorrow. Or this promotion for cheap service will expire today.
Scam artists often use the start of a new semester to target WVU students with unsolicited emails offering ways to make money quickly by working from home or providing nanny or tutoring services. Legitimate University job offers are posted by WVU Career Services on Handshake.
WVU students should NOT respond to unsolicited emails, Google Hangout requests, texts or phone calls offering employment opportunities such as work-at-home gigs or arrangements involving financial transactions. Beware of offers that:
- Invite you to cash a check, keep part of the proceeds and then transfer money or send a check from your own accounts.
- Send you a product or commodity such as watches or phones and ask you to distribute these items to others.
- Encourage you to cash a check in advance for work not yet completed.
- Try to sell you “enhanced” wireless Internet service at WVU.
If you receive any job-related message that seeks financial information or requests anything else that seems suspicious, please contact WVU Career Services at email@example.com and forward any suspicious emails as an attachment to DefendYourData@mail.wvu.edu.
Attackers frequently use spear phishing emails that appear to come from academic or administrative leadership, such as the president, a dean or director, and request gift card purchases. The email will frequently ask if the individual is on campus and then convey that it is urgent for the individual to do something for them, usually purchasing an iTunes or Google Play gift card. Tips to identify these scams:
- Generic subject line like “Hello”
- Message is short, limited and creates a sense of urgency
- Request to purchase a gift card is unusual
- Recipient email address is not @mail.wvu.edu.
Phone scammers often disguise themselves as a legitimate source such as the police, FBI, IRS, banks, service providers, or customer support for Apple, Amazon or Microsoft. As with email phishing scams, the caller will demand some sort of urgent action and request your personal information or payment to resolve the issue. They will use the information you provide to fraudulently charge your account. Tips to avoid phone scams:
- Let unrecognized calls go to voicemail.
- If the caller leaves a message that appears to be legitimate, call the company back but DO NOT use the number provided. Instead, call the customer support number on the back of your card or go to the company’s website to look up their number.
- NEVER provide personal or financial information in an unsolicited phone call, including Social Security numbers, birth date, address, account numbers, PIN numbers or CVV codes.