Dean Volpe, CHPP, Captain of the Monmouth University Police Department, sent out a campus-wide email addressing numerous attempts by scammers to steal money from University students, staff, and faculty.
“Helping you to avoid falling prey to these scams is a priority of the Monmouth University Police Department,” Volpe wrote. To that end, I am writing to you today to inform you of some of the most common and popular techniques, or scams, used by these individuals.”
Volpe detailed a common technique by scammers that involves offering a job, then paying you in advance for the work. The victim receives an email announcing a “work from home job opportunity,” or a “car wrap opportunity.”
“In both of these cases, the scammer will send you a fraudulent check for thousands of dollars, typically between two and four thousand dollars,” Volpe wrote. “You would receive instructions to deposit the check into your bank account and then to use part of the money to buy supplies you will need for you to work from home; or, to pay for shrink wrapping your vehicle as a rolling advertisement for some product, i.e. Pepsi, Red Bull, etc.; and, to keep a portion as your salary. The rest, however, the scammer will ask you to return to them for any variety of reasons; which brings me to the next step in this scam. The scammer asks you to buy gift cards or prepaid debit cards.”
The most popular gift card requests are iTunes, Amazon or eBay gift cards, Volpe detailed.
“Once you buy the cards, with the money left over from that large check they sent you, they will instruct you to email them the numbers on the cards. Shortly thereafter you are notified by your bank that the check the scammer sent you, and that you deposited into your account, is counterfeit. Unfortunately, the scammers have cashed out on the gift cards you bought, you’ve wrapped your car in some advertisement or bought your work from home supplies, and the money’s gone; and, the bank will now hold you responsible for paying them back the full amount of the counterfeit check.”
In order to send these fraudulent job offer emails, the scammers will use non-Monmouth University email accounts such as Gmail. However, there have been a few occasions where Monmouth University email accounts were compromised, which added to the legitimacy of their request. Volpe explained.