An increasing number of University of Michigan students have contacted the U-M Police Department to report fraudulent activity.
The scheme involves students receiving a message to their Umich email account in which they are offered a money-making opportunity. The sender provides an electronically-submitted check to cover the recipient’s expenses, such as computer equipment necessary to fulfill the employment requirements.
The recipient then deposits the electronic check into their account, after which the scammer asks them to route a portion of those funds back to them via an electronic funds transmission service. Funds are then transferred out of the victim’s account, and the check is later determined to be worthless. Please see this Consumer Alert from the Michigan Attorney General’s Office for more information on the counterfeit check scam.
In some cases, U-M community members reported receiving a highly customized scam email that impersonates a U-M professor and pretends to be offering employment for assistance with that professor’s research and work. This scam uses many known techniques to trick recipients into divulging personal information or giving the scammer money in the form of gift cards or other purchased items. ITS posted a bulletin on their safe computing web page about this specific scam.
To protect yourself against these types of scams, be suspicious of any offers for employment if you did not apply for or inquire about a job. One of the common factors in this and similar scams is that the recipient of the scam email was not pursuing the job that the scam email offers.