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Week 3: Financial Scams & You

A typical scam...

Attackers send an email message claiming to be a job offer for a work from home position.  Often the "positions" the attackers are offering are something like an administrative assistant, shipping clear, envelope stuffer, etc.

Once the recipient has agreed to take the position, the attackers send a check to the recipient and ask that they desposit it and use the funds to purchase goods.  Usually, the goods the recipient is asked to purchase includes things like gift cards, money orders or other forms of untraceable money.


Once the goods have been sent or transferred to the attacker, the attacker will cancel the original check they sent, leaving the recipient financially responsible for the money spent on the goods requested by the attacker.

What's in it for the scammer?

Attackers use this scam as a way to obtain "free" money by tricking their victims in to using their own money to purchase goods for the attacker.  On our campus, students have lost up to several thousand dollars to these types of scams.  

This type of attack is seen quite often on University campuses because college students are often portayed as needing financial help, and work from home opportunities are attractive to busy college students. 


What can you do to prevent this?

  1. Many of these offers seem too good to be true, sadly, because they are.  The best way to defend yourself is to use those critical thinking skills!
  2. These offers often tout the ability to work from home and earn significant sums of money for doing little to no work.  Again, if it seems to good to be true...
  3. These messages often appear to come from legitimate companies, but the sender is often a ficticious person.  You can contact the company in question or use their web site to verify whether the sender is legitimate, but you should never reply directly to these messages.