Notice to Students: Fraudulent Activity Reported to UPD

The following message was sent to all students from the University Police Department yesterday, July 9, 2014.

        

On 7/7/14, the University Police Department was contacted by two students who reported very similar incidents involving fraudulent activity.  Both students had been searching for jobs online in mid-June and were subsequently advised via their Wildcat e-mail accounts that they had been selected for employment by a nationally-known company.  The students were never interviewed, were never required to show proof of eligibility to work, never met anyone in person, and never signed any documentation.  Both were sent packages in the mail which contained checks for large sums of money.  Their instructions were to deposit the checks in their personal accounts, keep small amounts as their first “paychecks”, and then wire the rest of the money to specified accounts.  

When one of the students became suspicious and told the “employer” she no longer wanted the job, the “employer” then threatened the student with legal action and told her that her student status at CSU, Chico would be in jeopardy if she did not deposit the check and wire the money as directed.  

The University Police Department informed both students that their student status was not in jeopardy for refusing to deposit the checks, the checks were fraudulent, and depositing the fraudulent checks would have been a crime.  

The University Police Department and Information Security officials began an investigation into the link between this fraudulent activity and the use of Wildcat e-mail addresses.  The Gmail accounts used to e-mail the students have been flagged and blocked from sending e-mails to students via the Wildcat e-mail system.  The results of additional investigations are pending.

While these particular senders have been blocked, this is a very popular scam that usually originates overseas and is likely to be seen again in the future.  The University Police Department would like to remind all students to be wary of job announcements that seem too good to be true and advertise an ability to work from home, making large amounts of cash per week, and then require no face-to-face interview, no proof of eligibility to work, and no signed documentation.

Students can avoid falling victim to this type of scam by following some simple steps:
-If you receive a similar job offer via e-mail, delete it immediately.  
-If you receive a check in the mail and then are supposed to deposit the check and wire the funds elsewhere, do not deposit the check.
-If someone is threatening or compelling you to do something you believe is illegal, notify law enforcement.

The University Police Department can be reached at (530) 898-5555.