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Students Targeted by Employment and Counterfeit Check Scam

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According to the FBI Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3), students are being targeted by a new/old scam that combines a fake employment opportunity and counterfeit checks. Here’s how it works:

Students answer an online job posting for a position with a generic title, like “market research”, and “no experience required”. After a few short questions, the “employer” offers the job on the spot. The employer also states the student will receive a check to cover purchase of equipment or other supplies. He further instructs the student to take out a specified amount as an initial payment and forward the rest to a vendor who will provide the student with the required supplies.

There’s one problem. The check is a fake and you probably know the rest of the story…. The student, once he deposits the check and forwards the money to the vendor, will be liable for the overdraft fees charged by the bank and any money that was spent.

The headache gets worse, though. According to the FBI, students may face additional consequences.

  • “The student’s bank account may be closed due to fraudulent activity and a report could be filed by the bank with a credit bureau or law enforcement agency.
  • The scamming incident could adversely affect the student’s credit record.”
  • By forwarding funding funds to a third party, the student could become an accessory to crime.

Here are some tips to help avoid this scam:

  • If you are asked to cash checks and wire funds to anyone, this is a scam.
  • If a company only communicates by  telephone, text , or email and won’t provide a valid street address, this is very suspicious. Walk away from this “job opportunity”.
  • Look up the company at bbb.org or call 256-533-1640.
  • Search for additional information on the “employer” using Google or other search engines. You may find someone who has already been approached by a similar scam.

For more information on this scam, go to EMPLOYMENT SCAM TARGETING COLLEGE STUDENTS REMAINS PREVALENT. To report a scam, go to the BBB Scam Tracker. To find trustworthy businesses, go to bbb.org.