Starting right before Christmas break, strange emails began popping into students’ emails asking for a caretaker.
Confusion stirred up, and many students feared the mysterious email was a lure by sex traffickers to get students off campus. Bill Hunt, ORU chief and director of safety and security, wants to ease students of their alarm.
This is not sex trafficking, Hunt says, but what’s called a phishing scheme, which is a common scheme that has been going around for a while.
“The one thing all these fraudulent schemes seem to have in common is that at some point [the schemer] will notify the person that they have got the job and they will mail you a fraudulent check,” Hunt says.
Once the check is deposited in the bank, the person will request the money be sent back to pay for supplies to be used on the job, causing the student to withdraw their own money. Within the next week the bank will attempt to process the check and find it fraudulent, and the student will have lost their money.
Campus security and IT are taking this scam seriously in part because it uses a former student’s email to send the fraudulent email, giving the email a false appearance of legitimacy.
“In fact is seems so legit that I believe it actually got posted as a job opportunity to ORU students,” Hunt says. “I would just like to point out to someone, if something seems to good to be true, it usually is.”
IT has blocked the email, and as far as security is aware, no one who has sent information back has received a check.
“The only thing that would cause a person to become a victim of the fraud is if you got that fake check and you deposited it into your account and withdrew money from that account,” says Hunt.
Hunt assures the students that you won’t hear from whoever sent the email again and they aren’t going to come on campus, they just want the student to deposit a fake check and send the money back to them.