Example 237: Student job for you! $400 per week!

Job scams targeting students at the University of Minnesota

Scams offering student employment are common at the University of Minnesota. Recently, there’s been a significant increase in the number of scams that are being attempted and the volume of recipients.

A scammer will sometimes masquerade as a human resources representative from a well-known company (e.g., Cisco Systems Inc.). In other situations, they may claim to be a faculty member who needs assistance with paperwork.

They will let you know that they got your information from the school, and they will emphasize the legitimacy of their business or their need.

A common theme of all of these scams is that the job offers $200-$500 per week for very minimal, entirely online work. Quite the lucrative gig!

How does this “student job” scam work?

  • The scammer will ask for a phone number, home address, alternate email, and possibly other information.
    • The alternate email is so they can stay in contact with you even after your friends in University Information Security block them from contacting your UMN account!
  • The scammer will then send the victim a check in the mail that exceeds the promised pay.
  • They may ask that the victim repay the excess in gift cards or via a money order.
  • When the check is deposited, the funds will appear as pending in the victim’s bank, so they may trust that the funds will appear.
  • Ultimately, the check will bounce, and the individual will be out the funds they spent on gift cards or sent by money order.

Unfortunately, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is, as is the case with these job scams.

What to do if you have been the victim of a job scam

Immediately contact your bank and determine whether they can stop any payments sent to the account of this individual. Also request that they put a watch for suspicious activity on your accounts

If you purchased gift cards and sent them to the scammer, there is little that you can do. However, you can report the issue to the organization you purchased the gift cards from to see what options are available to you.

We recommend that you review and follow the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) identity theft guidance.

You may also wish to report the scam to the FTC's online complaint assistant.

How to limit your information in the UMN public directory

Typically, these and other scammers will retrieve your information from the University’s public directory. You can suppress your information from the public directory using Onestop’s guide to directory suppression.

We recommend level 4 suppression if you simply wish to remove your information from the public directory. If you wish to set level 5 directory suppression, carefully read the warning and understand the challenges that this may cause in the future (e.g., limits on releasing degree completion to prospective employers, financial institutions, etc.).