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SPAR – Cybersecurity Scam of the Week – Looking For Some Extra Income? Watch Out For Scams


If you are looking for a way to make extra money, be careful of advertisements or phishing emails that post fake jobs designed to trick you into sharing personal information or sending money in exchange for the promise of a job that doesn’t exist.

Here are a few ways to spot and avoid job scams:

  • Be suspicious if you’re offered a job without an interview. Scammers might say they’re out of town, too busy, or have another excuse for not talking to you by phone or in person.
  • If you get a check before you start a job, it could be a scam. The person “hiring you” might say: it’s your first paycheck, to use the money to buy supplies, or — for caregivers hired online — that it’s for expenses related to caring for their loved one. But later they’ll tell you to send part of the money to someone else or return it to them. They’ll have excuses, but the main thing to know is this: the check is fake. By the time the bank realizes it, the scammer has your money (if you sent it), and the bank will want you to repay the money you withdrew.
  • Check out potential employers before giving them any sensitive information. Search online for their name, email address, phone number, and even the text of the message they sent. You might find that others have had bad experiences and been scammed by the same people, or in a similar way.

If one of these scams makes it to your UTHSC inbox, report it to abuse@uthsc.edu.  If it happens to you outside of UTHSC, you do have another way of reporting it to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) using ReportFraud.ftc.gov.

What else has been reported to abuse@uthsc.edu this past week?

  • [Ext] (Fill in the name of the recipient) – these came through last weekend spoofing the names of people on campus asking for others to “do them a favor”. A classic start of the gift card scam.
  • [Ext] Staff – the bad guys got tired of customizing the Subject line, so they just used “Staff”, but it is the same start of the gift card scam, asking if the recipient is available.
  • BE A STAR FOR NFL – the scam mentioned in this column, a fake advertisement for a part-time job that is too good to be true.
  • [Ext] IMPORTANT: Notification – a “Password Expiration Notice” email, but it comes from an external source, NOT UTHSC.
  • [Ext] Action requested – 12/3/2021 – wants the recipient to believe it is coming from a UTHSC Office 365 Administrator, but again, it is from an external address.
  • [Ext] The University of Tennessee – Research Assistants – another fake job opportunity, coming from a Gmail account, not a legitimate UT account.

Keep reporting suspicious emails to abuse@uthsc.edu for examination and any other inquiries for the Office of Cybersecurity should be directed to itsecurity@uthsc.edu.