Have you ever received an email like this?
Dear Student or Resident,
My name is Scam McLiar and I am recruiter for The ABC Work from Home Company. We specialize in home based career services for special, hard-working, and trustworthy individuals. We employ thousands of people just like you who work from home and can make up to $1000 a week working only 2 hours a day and about 3 days a week.
Your job working from home would include:
- Shopping at different retail stores and completing a customer service satisfaction survey
- Mail letters and make purchases for the executive staff when needed
- Place advertisements around your city, we will even pay for your gas!
I am unable to interview you in person because I am in Paris teaching an executive training seminar, just email me the following information to firstname.lastname@example.org
- Your name
- Your email address
- Your cell phone number so we can call or text you urgently
- Alternate phone number in case the cell number does not work
A correspondent will contact you right away and we will mail you your first check of $1000 before you start work! DO NOT MISS THE URGENT OPPORTUNITY!
In case you’re not aware by now, this made-up job opportunity IS A SCAM. You may get emails or calls like this. If it seems too good to be true, it most definitely is. These fake job offers and opportunities are designed to make you interested and contact them. When you contact the sender, they will “hire” you for a special job and even mail you a check — usually by FedEx or UPS — where they can track and know exactly when the very realistic check arrives at your apartment. The “business” will call you and urgently tell you to deposit the check for your first job assignment. If you deposit the check at a bank, the money will be put into your account and you will believe this is real.
Please know in the United States, banks will automatically assume the check is valid (depending on the dollar amount) because they are made to appear very real. The bank will usually immediately deposit the money into your account. Thousands of checks go through a bank branch each day and an overwhelming majority of them are valid and real, so a bank assumes checks deposited will have money backing them. It can take several days or even weeks for the bank to identify the check as fake. Once they learn this, they will remove the money from your account.
Your first job assignment will likely involve you going to buy several $50 or $100 gift cards from Apple, Best Buy, or other stores using a portion of the money you deposited in the bank. You will “get to keep the rest of the money.”
Once the gift cards are purchased they will ask you to reveal the special code on the back of the gift cards and send them the information. Next, they will request you do it again, and again, and again as fast and as often as you can. The reason they do this is because as soon as the bank figures out the checks are fake the money previously deposited in your bank account will be removed. You will no longer have the money in your account but you will still be responsible for payment of all the gift cards and purchases you made. These purchases could be hundreds or thousands of dollars. Meanwhile, all the gift card information you sent them will allow the people tricking you to empty the gift cards.
You cannot return the gift cards because they are empty and the money that was in your bank to pay for the gift cards is gone. It is almost impossible to recover the money that you lost.
BOTTOM LINE: Do not respond to these ads and emails, even if they come to through the wisc.edu mail service. You can report these spam job offer emails to DoIT at https://it.wisc.edu/reporting-an-incident-to-it-security/ — or, just email it to email@example.com.
Any job that offers to pay you a lot of money, without an interview or meeting anyone in person, for simple work that you are overpaid for will likely end in you losing money. If you ever have a question about an email, phone call, or possible scam please contact UWPD at (608) 264-2677.