FBI warns students of scam

Emily Smith, Editor in Chief 

College students across the United States continue to be targeted in a common employment scam according to a Public Service Announcement issued by the Federal Bureau of Investigations Jan. 18.

Scammers advertise phony job opportunities on college employment websites, and/or students receive emails on their school accounts recruiting them for fictitious positions.

“This impacts us at Armstrong as well and we ask all students to remain vigilant as the scammers are using the names of legitimate companies to take advantage of college students seeking employment,” read an email to the student body student from Armstrong Career Services and IT Department Jan. 19.


How the scam works:

  • Scammers post online job advertisements soliciting college students for administrative positions.
  • The student employee receives counterfeit checks in the mail or via e-mail and is instructed to deposit the checks into their personal checking account.
  • The scammer then directs the student to withdraw the funds from their checking account and send a portion, via wire transfer, to another individual. Often, the transfer of funds is to a “vendor” purportedly for equipment, materials, or software necessary for the job.
  • Subsequently, the checks are confirmed to be fraudulent by the bank.


The following are some examples of the employment scam e-mails:

“You will need some materials/software and also a time tracker to commence your training and orientation and also you need the software to get started with work. The funds for the software will be provided for you by the company via check. Make sure you use them as instructed for the software and I will refer you to the vendor you are to purchase them from, okay.”

“I have forwarded your start-up progress report to the HR Dept. and they will be facilitating your start-up funds with which you will be getting your working equipment from vendors and getting started with training.”

“Enclosed is your first check. Please cash the check, take $300 out as your pay, and send the rest to the vendor for supplies.”


Consequences of participating in this scam:

  • The student’s bank account may be closed due to fraudulent activity and a report could be filed by the bank with a credit bureau or law enforcement agency.
  • The student is responsible for reimbursing the bank the amount of the counterfeit checks.
  • The scamming incident could adversely affect the student’s credit record.
  • The scammers often obtain personal information from the student while posing as their employer, leaving them vulnerable to identity theft.
  • Scammers seeking to acquire funds through fraudulent methods could potentially utilize the money to fund illicit criminal or terrorist activity.


Tips on how to protect yourself from this scam:

  • Never accept a job that requires depositing checks into your account or wiring portions to other individuals or accounts.
  • Many of the scammers who send these messages are not native English speakers. Look for poor use of the English language in emails such as incorrect grammar, capitalization, and tenses.
  • Contact Career Services at 912-344-2563 if you have questions about a job posting
  • Forward suspicious e-mail to the helpdesk@armstrong.edu
  • Learn more about how the scam works from the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center


Armstrong’s Office of Career Services follows a formal vetting process to ensure that jobs posted on www.collegecentral.com/armstrong are valid.  Students are encouraged by the department to use this site to post resumes and search for full time, part-time, and internship opportunities.
If you have been a victim of this scam or any other Internet-related scam, you may file a complaint with the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center at www.IC3.gov and notify campus police.