College students have been targeted by an employment scam that’s going to start sounding familiar as soon as I begin to describe it.
Ads are placed on job websites for administrative positions, or emails are sent directly to students “recruiting” them for the jobs. You know…college…recruiters…there companies who need your talents so badly, they’re hiring these people called recruiters to find you before you find them. That’s the dream, right?
Anyway, students who respond to the ads are sent a cashier’s check…can you guess what’s coming yet? The victim is instructed to cash the check, then wire the funds to someone, presumably to pay for equipment or software.
Now let’s see if you can guess what happens next:
- The student receives equipment and software and begins a rewarding career that pays well;
- The student gets struck by lightning three times in one week;
- The student finds out the check was counterfeit, and since he already wired the money to someone else, is now out several thousand dollars.
The answer is C, but B is actually more likely than A.
Scams usually involve tricking a victim into willingly handing something over, be it money or personal information. Scammers try to invoke emotional responses in order to make potential victims bypass their logic. This is why scammers try to create urgency or incite fear, prey on those who are desperate, or (in this case) prey on a group of people, college students, who know they’re in a competitive scene where the supply is greater than the demand.
Scams like this are easy to avoid, simply by applying a single principle: never cash a check and then wire the funds to someone else. It’s one of those rules that works in dozens of scenarios.