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Security risk: job offer email scams

Girl on laptop

Published November 8, 2016

Have you recently received an email with a job offer in your account? Unless you previously reached out to the company, the offer is likely fake.

Job scams typically offer jobs using a real company, and sometimes even send a check along with the offer. "Typically the scammer will send you a paycheck prior to any work being done,” Jeff Murphy, UB Interim Information Security Officer, told UBIT News. "They’ll ask you to cash it, but then claim they overpaid you and ask you to return the difference."

If you deposit the check and transfer the funds, the bank transfer will go through, but the check will bounce and you will lose the transferred funds. Not only will your money be stolen, but your bank account might be used to launder money for a criminal organization.

The biggest red flag that an offer is fraudulent is often that the email address will not match the company’s name. The best way to check the offer is to contact the company directly, not through the email you received.

It’s also suspicious when a company offers to pay large sums of money for little or no work. Being offered a job without previous interaction should raise some eyebrows.

"The age old advice is that if something sounds too good to be true—like being paid without having to do any work—then it probably isn't true," said Murphy.

In addition, you should be mindful of offers that demand copies of identification or banking information. If they want you to transfer money from accounts or send you a check, of any amount, you should also be wary.

"Generally the institutions you interact with, including UB, will never ask for confidential information via email," according to Murphy. "When you receive an email asking for your password, social security number or account number, this should immediately cause you to start questioning the validity of the email."


Kenneth Kashif Thomas (UB Student, Class of 2017) is an Economics major with an interest in Journalism. He is the 2016-17 Senior Features Editor of the UB Spectrum student newspaper.