Job Scam Reporting and Resources - University of Houston
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Job Scam Reporting and Resources

Over the past few years, there has been an increase in fraudulent and illegal job scams via email or via the phone. We created this page for our students and alumni to understand how to identify a job scam, what to do if you get an email and to notify the UH community of currently known job scams.

Note: Please remember that your UH email address (@uh.edu) is publically available on the UH website directory and may increase the amount of junk mail you receive, including job scams.

If you have responded to an email regarding a job opportunity and you now suspect it to be a scam, please do the following:

  1. Notify Information Security, 832-842-4695. You will be asked to forward your PeopleSoft ID and any email or text message correspondence you have had with the scammer.
  2. To help secure your UH information please set up your PeopleSoft password security questions and then reset your PeopleSoft and CougarNet account passwords:
    • Log into AccessUH and click the myUH icon
    • Look for the option "Setup Security Questions" on the left menu
    • Set up the two questions with answers only you will know
    • Reset your myUH (PeopleSoft) and CougarNet passwords using the Password Wizard.
  3. Report the scam to the UH Police Department, 4015 Wheeler Avenue Houston, TX 77204 or by phone at 713-743-3333. Inform them that Information Security asked you to make the report.
  4. Report the scam to University Career Services.

How to identify a job scam:

  • The email is from a Gmail, Yahoo, or Outlook address. Legitimate companies should email from their corporate email account. UH will not post jobs from employers that do not have corporate email accounts.
  • You are not the only recipient on the email. Legitimate companies will not send an email about a job offer to multiple people at once.
  • The email does not address you by name. The email may say your information was obtained from a job board, school database, or Career Services office. If so, they should address the email to you directly, rather than “Hello Student” or “Good Morning”.
  • The company name may be a legitimate company. To make the scam more believable the email will use the name of a legitimate company. However, the person contacting you has no relationship with the company they are claiming to work for.
  • They ask to continue the conversation by text. This makes the scam harder to document. Conversations about legitimate offers should be conducted by email.
  • They ask for personal information in an email. Legitimate job opportunities require you to apply and provide your personal information in an official application, many times on the company website.
  • The email contains grammatical or spelling errors. A very common attribute of scam emails is that they do not bother to spell check or grammar check their outgoing emails.
  • There is no contact information for the sender. Any legitimate email from a company’s Human Resources or Recruiting department should have a signature line for the send with their name, title, and contact information.
  • The email asks you to visit a non-UH website. UH will only ask you to visit the website for an official career center on campus.
If you receive an email that contains this type of information, delete it. There is no need to respond. If you ever have questions about whether or not an email is legitimate, forward it to security@uh.edu.

Never:

  • Never give out personal information like your social security or bank account number over email or phone.
  • Never take cashier’s checks or money orders as a form of payment. Fake checks are common and the bank where you cash it will hold you accountable.
  • Never cash a check that comes with “extra” money. Scammers send checks that require you to deposit a check at your bank, withdraw the “extra” money as cash, and then deposit that cash elsewhere. The check will bounce and you will be held accountable.
  • Never wire funds via Western Union, MoneyGram or any other service. Anyone who asks you to wire money is a scammer.
  • Never apply for jobs listed by someone far away or in another country.
  • Never agree to a background check unless you have met the employer in person.
  • Never apply for a job that is emailed to you out of the blue.

Always:

  • Be skeptical. If a job is offering a lot of money for very little work, it could be a scammer trying to get personal information from you.
  • Research the employer. Do they have a reputable website or professional references? Is the job listing you want to apply for also on their main career page? Note: work-study jobs may not be advertised on employer websites.
  • Meet face-to-face with a potential employer. An in-person interview or informal chat over coffee will help you determine the employer’s intentions.
  • Be sure to choose a public place to meet, tell someone where you are going and bring your cell phone, just in case.
  • Trust your instincts. If a job sounds too good to be true, it is likely a scam.

Job Scam Scenario

A student applies for an online data entry job posted by a scammer from out-of-state. When payday rolls around, the scammer tells the student they will receive a cashier’s check, however, the value of the check will be more than what the student has earned. The scammer offers to “trust” the student and asks that they repay the difference with a wire transfer. The student cashes the cashier’s check and then wires the scammer the balance. Even though the bank cashes the check, it is later discovered to be a fake and does not clear. The student now owes the bank the full value of the check.

What to do if you receive a job scam email:

  1. Email UH University Career Services and UH Information Security. You will be asked to forward your PeopleSoft ID and any email or text message correspondence you have had with the scammer.
  2. To help secure your UH information please set up your PeopleSoft password security questions and then reset your PeopleSoft and CougarNet account passwords:
    • Log into AccessUH and click the myUH icon
    • Look for the option “Setup Security Questions” on the left menu
    • Set up the two questions with answers only you will know
    • Reset your myUH (PeopleSoft) and CougarNet passwords using the Password Wizard.
  3. Report the scam to the UH Police Department, 4051 Wheeler Avenue Houston, TX 77204 or by phone at 713-743-3333. Inform them that UIT Security asked you to make the report.
  4. Please remember that your UH email address (@uh.edu) is publically available on the UH website directory and may increase the amount of junk mail you receive, including job scams.

Further steps:

Currently known job scams:

Check this list periodically if you feel like you received a scam email. If your email is not listed but you believe it to be fraud, follow steps above.

Date of Email: July 24, 2019
Name of "company": CiscoSystems
Contact Name: Ryan Jacobs
Text from email:

Dear student,

We got your contact through your school database and I'm happy to inform you that our reputable company CISCOsystems® is currently running a student empowerment program.

This program is completely school oriented as it has been designed not to deter you from all school activities which is priority for you and this organization. This program is to help loyal and hardworking students like you secure a part time job with an attractive weekly salary.

TO PROCEED WITH THIS JOB OFFER, KINDLY REPLY TO THIS MAIL WITH YOUR ALTERNATE E-MAIL ADDRESS IN ORDER TO RECEIVE THE FULL JOB DESCRIPTION.

Best Regards,

Ryan Jacob,
HR Recruit Manager/Consultant
CISCOsystems Inc®

Date of Email: July 21, 2019
Name of "company": Elkay Manufacturing Company
Contact Name: Charles Marcus
Text from email:

“I'm very happy to inform you about the job opportunity in conjunction with your school (University of Houston ) we got your mail from your school database...our reputable company (Elkay Manufacturing Company) is running a student empowerment program.... this program is to help the hard-working student to secure a work at home job, this will not stop you from your daily works and your school activities... all you need is just an hour or two to carry out the job weekly.. your wages will be $300 USD per week...

kindly get back to us if you are interested in this job opportunity.”