AG: Employment scams target college students

By Chris Dickerson | Aug 21, 2015

CHARLESTON — West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey warns college students to be on guard for scams offering fake employment opportunities.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation frequently has warned of email scams circulating around college campuses offering “work from home” opportunities specifically targeted toward college students. The emails have been known to target students through their school email accounts.

“Many students are looking for convenient, good paying jobs to make some extra money while pursuing their education,” Morrisey said in a statement. “We want to be sure that people know what to expect and are able to protect themselves, especially since many of these employment scams often seem like legitimate opportunities.”

Morrisey issued this advice as part of his office’s second Back to School Consumer Protection Week.

In this type of scam, the student will “apply” for a position (such as a rebate or payments processor, trading partner or currency trader) through an unsolicited email or online job site. They will then receive an email asking them to provide their bank account number so money can be deposited into it.

The student then is told to transfer a portion of the funds to another bank account. However, by following those directions, the student puts himself or herself at risk of being defrauded out of money, becoming a victim of identity theft or possibly even becoming involved in a criminal money laundering scheme. Additionally, the money allegedly being deposited may not be real or swept from the account, which could create a scenario in which the student ends up having to pay overdraft fees.

The Attorney General’s Office offers the following tips to help college students deal with these employment offers:

* Never accept a job that requires you to deposit funds into an account and then wire a portion of the money into different accounts.

* Research the company and sender’s email address online before answering any emails offering potential employment. Make sure both the company and the sender are legitimate. Do an online search of the company’s name and the word “scam” to see if any hits pop up.

* Be cautious if the email uses poor English or contains improper grammar, punctuation or sentence structure.

* Never provide personal information of any kind, such as bank account information, login names, passwords or any other identifying information in response to a recruitment or human resources-related email.

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