University of Vermont

Information Technology

Don't Fall for These Scams

University students and employees are increasingly being targeted by scams that can result in financial losses.  The Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) has published Cyber-Related Scams Targeting Universities, Employees, and Students, an alert describing several current scams to watch out for. Three are of particular concern to students, and one also targets faculty and staff. 

Work-at-home and check cashing scams:  "Scammers are posting online advertisements soliciting college students for administrative positions in which they would receive checks via the mail or e-mail. Students are directed to deposit the checks into their accounts, and then print checks and/or wire money to an individual."  In other cases, "students were hired through online advertisements for work-at-home jobs, and provided their bank account information to the perpetrators."

Stealing loan funds:  "Perpetrators are compromising students’ credentials resulting in the rerouting of their reimbursement money to other bank accounts. The reimbursement money is from student loans and used to pay tuition, books, and living expenses." 

Stealing paychecks:  "Spear phishing e-mails are being sent to university employees that appear to be from their employer. The e-mail contains a link and claims some type of issue has risen requiring them to enter their log-in credentials. Once employees provide their user name and password, the perpetrator accesses the university’s computer system to redirect the employees’ payroll allocation to another bank account."  A phishing example can be seen on the UVM web site. 

Staying Safe

Two simple defenses will save one from most scams:

  1. UVM will never ask anyone to enter UVM credentials (Net-ID and password) on a web site -- even if it looks like a UVM page with UVM graphics, and even if it's on a reputable site such as Google Docs, or you've been directed there by an email that appears to come from a UVM email address.  Hover your cursor over a link (without clicking) to see where it would really take you. If you go to a site and the address bar in your web browser doesn't show it's a site, quit or exit your browser.

  2. If it seems too good to be true, it probably is. 

If you are ever uncertain about the legitimacy of an email message concerning your account, please contact the Computing Help Line at 656-2604, or submit a help request online.



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