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Email scam making waves at universities

The Federal Bureau of Investigations has issued a warning about scams targeting university students and employees.

The scam targeting students offers work from home opportunities, while the one sent to university employees claims there has been a change in their payroll. So far, neither scam has been reported at California State University, Stanislaus, said University Interim Police Chief Andy Roy.

The FBI stated university employees are receiving fraudulent e-mails indicating a change in their human resource status. The e-mail contains a link directing the employee to login to their human resources website to identify this change. The website provided appears very similar to the legitimate site in an effort to steal the employee’s credentials. Once the employee enters his/her login information, the scammer takes that information and signs into the employee’s official human resources account to change the employee’s direct deposit information. This redirects the employee’s paycheck to the bank account of another individual involved in the scam.

In the scam targeting students, the FBI said students have been receiving e-mails to their school accounts recruiting them for payroll and/or human resource positions with fictitious companies. The “position” simply requires the student to provide his/her bank account number to receive a deposit and then transfer a portion of the funds to another bank account. Unbeknownst to the student, the other account is involved in the scam that the student has now helped perpetrate. The scammers will add the student’s bank account to a victim employee’s direct deposit information to redirect the victim’s payroll deposit to the student’s account.

The funds the student receives and directs elsewhere have been stolen by cyber criminals. Participating in the scam is a crime and could lead to the student’s bank account being closed due to fraudulent activity or federal charges. The FBI said this particular scam can not be perpetuated without the help of students and therefore can leave them open to possible criminal charges for their role in it.

The FBI has offered the tips to avoid falling victim to these scams:

If a job offer sounds too good to be true, it probably is.Never accept a job that requires the depositing of funds into your account and wiring them to different accounts.Look for poor use of the English language in e-mails such as incorrect grammar, capitalization, and tenses. Many of the scammers who send these messages are not native English speakers.Never provide credentials of any kind such as bank account information, login names, passwords, or any other identifying information in response to a recruitment e-mail.Roll your cursor over the links received via e-mail and look for inconsistencies. If it is not the website the e-mail claims to be directing you to then the link is to a fraudulent site.Never provide credentials of any sort via e-mail. This includes after clicking on links sent via e-mail. Always go to an official website rather than from a link sent to you via e-mail.Forward these e-mails to the university’s IT personnel.

Victims of the scam can also file a complaint with the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center at