In light of recent suspicious email activity affecting multiple people on campus, the information below is furnished on behalf of UTC Police and Safety officials who encourage you to be alert for and cautious with suspicious email messages.
A phishing scam to commit fraud has begun circulation around the University and impacted multiple people on campus.
Please be aware of emails from companies or people offering internships or a job as an assistant in order to make money. The subjects are initially asking their intended targets to price a computer, a printer, and a scanner and purchase quality paper. The accountant emails them a check with instructions how to mobile deposit the check to their bank. The victim is then instructed to deposit the check into their personal account.
Potential victims are then asked to purchase gift cards with a portion of the money, take photos of the cards to verify the check has been deposited, and keep part of the money for themselves for the first week’s pay.
The checks are fraudulent and these scammers immediately delete all funds on the gift cards from the victim’s account.
Be cautious about unsolicited emails. They are often fraudulent. If you are familiar with the company or charity that sent you the email and you don’t want to receive further messages, send a reply asking to be removed from the email list. However, responding to unknown senders may simply verify that yours is a working email address and result in even more unwanted messages from strangers. The best approach may simply be to delete the email.
Don’t believe promises of easy money. If someone claims that you can earn money with little or no work, get a loan or credit card even if you have bad credit, or make money on an investment with little or no risk, it’s probably a scam. Oftentimes, offers that seem too good to be true, are actually too good to be true.
Don’t deposit a check and wire money back. By law, banks must make funds from deposited checks available within days, but uncovering a “fake check” can take weeks. If a check you deposit turns out to be a fake, you’re responsible for repaying the bank. Be doubtful any time you are asked to print out a check for mobile deposit. As another important point of significance, UTC will never send checks via email attachment.
Never purchase gift cards for a job offer. A real job offer will not require you to purchase items for your new position prior to being hired.
Talk to someone. Before you give up money or personal information, talk to someone you trust. Con artists want you to make decisions in a hurry. They might even threaten you. Slow down, check out the story, do an online search, consult an expert — or just tell a friend.
Don’t pay up front for a promise. Someone might ask you to pay in advance for things like debt relief, credit and loan offers, mortgage assistance or a job. They might even say you’ve won a prize, but first you have to pay taxes or fees. If you do, they will probably take the money and disappear.
Double check email addresses to confirm that they include “@utc.edu” if claiming to be from UTC and verify their employment with the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.
If you believe you have received emails that may be a phishing attempt, please call the University’s IT Department at 423-425-4000. If you believe you’ve been a victim of this scam, please call the UTC Police Department at 423-425-4357.