Online Scams

Online scams may offer employment or ask you to do certain tasks as bait in order to steal money or your identity.

The first message may seem legitimate, but follow-up emails tend to include a variety of red flags.  

By falling for an online scam, you could unknowingly break the law. Your actions may include money laundering or credit card fraud.

These messages continue to evolve.

Warning Signs That May Indicate a Scam

  • Unexpected: A job offer from an unexpected source
  • Email address: The email address is not from the company or is misspelled
  • Company name: The company name is unknown
  • Money: The job requires you to handle money
  • Email replies: You are asked to reply to or the message reply goes to a different email address

Danger Signs That Indicate a Definite Scam

  • Order placement: You place orders
  • Check printing: Someone asks you to print checks and overnight the checks
  • Check cashing -  You are depositing checks
  • Wiring money: You are transferring money to other accounts
  • Gift cards: You are asked to purchase gift cards
  • Bitcoin: You are asked to convert cash into bitcoin
  • Bank accounts: You are using your bank account or opening up new accounts
  • Shipping items: You are asked to reship items.
  • Mystery shopping: You are asked to purchase items and ship them to another address

If the job seems too good to be true, it is likely is a scam.  A good question to ask is: Why would someone pay me this much to do something they could do themselves?  

What Can You Do?

  • Verify the offer by contacting the company directly
  • Look up the company on the Internet, do not use the number in the email
  • Look for a Human Resources contact and call them to ask if this is a legitimate employment offer*

* You may be able to turn this into a positive. Tell them that you researched the company and are interested in working for them. Ask the HR person how you can apply for a position.

If You Think You’re a Victim

If you think you fell for a scam, protect yourself by stopping any further communication.

  1. Change any passwords on accounts that were involved in the scam
  2. Contact any financial institutions involved
  3. Make a report to your local law enforcement.  If you are a member of the University at Buffalo, please contact University Police
  4. File a complaint at the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3)

The criminal may threaten you or use your identity for another scam. 

Additional Resources for Information

Contact the UBIT Help Center

Have a UBITName? You may also use the UBIT Help Center Online (login required).

(xxx) xxx-xxxx
Use your email ONLY if you have access to it