Students at Northwestern, other universities targeted by employment email scam


Daily file photo by Joshua Hoffman

Harris Hall. The history department warned students about phishing scams related to fraudulent research opportunities earlier this month.

Joanna Hou, Assistant Campus Editor

A widespread employment email scam is targeting Northwestern by offering students fake job opportunities, Vice President for Information Technology Sean Reynolds said Thursday. 

The offers come from external accounts created to mirror those of the University’s professors, according to the announcement. 

“As part of the employment process, they seek to gain access to students’ bank or credit card accounts or receive tangible items, such as laptops or credit cards,” Reynolds said in an email. 

Reynolds’ email provided guidance on how to identify potential employment-related scams. Identifying factors include emails that come from a free domain, offers to send a paycheck before employment and vague or limited job descriptions. 

On March 17, a history department email also notified students about a faulty email trying to recruit student researchers. The email proceeded to warn students not to enter into financial transactions with the sender. 

“Northwestern takes seriously the security of our students, faculty and staff and encourages you to take steps to protect yourself from fraudulent activities online,” Reynolds said in the Universitywide email. “As a reminder, Northwestern will never ask for your personal information via email, including your NetID password, social security number, or bank account information.” 

The email encourages students to reach out if they receive suspicious emails or believe they are experiencing employment fraud, and asks students to cease all contact with the potential scammer immediately. Students can email NU IT’s Information Security Office and Northwestern Career Advancement to notify the University of the scam. 

If the student has already shared financial information, NU recommends filing a cybercrime incident report with the Federal Trade Commission and monitoring bank accounts. Student Affairs has support services available for those in need of additional help. 

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @joannah_11

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