A series of fraudulent emails has prompted the AU Career Center and Office of Information and Technology to work together in preventing future online scams.
The scammers asked two AU students to cash in checks or money orders that they received in the mail and to send them to other companies.
Neither of the students sent any money to the scammers, according to Julie Jones, assistant director for employer relations at the Career Center. Had the students followed the scammer’s instructions, the checks and money orders would have bounced and the students would have ultimately lost money.
Many of the emails were not sent from a legitimate “.com” or “.org” return address, making it seem as though they were sent directly from the employer.
“Your resume was forwarded to me from your school career center in response to an employment/job vacancy,” the fraudulent messages said. “Kindly get back to me at your earliest convenience if you are still looking for an opportunity to pursue.”
On April 18, the Career Center sent out an email, advising students to ignore emails from the following contacts:
• ADC Telecommunications
• Adecco Group
• Cara Operations
• Caterpillar Inc.
• Paulson Investments
• Seapoint Ventures
Jones said students have been reporting these emails to the Career Center, which helps prevent further emails.
Unprofessional language and grammatical errors are additional indicators of fraudulent emails, she said.
Eric Weakland, the director of Information security in OIT, said fraudulent emails are not a breach of security.
“AU uses spam and phishing control software which prevents a large majority of spam and phishing emails,” he said in an email. “However, some will always get through any system, so we also must rely on educating our customers.”
Weakland said OIT does not know how the scammers obtained AU students’ email addresses. However, OIT is collaborating with the Career Center to educate students and prevent future scams.
The centers are trying to alleviate this problem by openly naming the companies AU works with.
Both Jones and Weakland urge students to verify the source of the emails in an effort to be more cautious.
“Don’t trust email,” Weakland said. “You wouldn’t just share your personal information with a random stranger on the street, would you?”
Correction: A previous version of this article stated that the two students sent money to the scammers. They did not.