Social media scammers target students with fake jobs

CHAMPAIGN – Police are again reminding students to use discretion when seeking employment – especially through social media – as scammers have been targeting University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign students.

The University of Illinois Police Department and the Office of Student Financial Aid have received multiple reports of students who have been contacted by a fraudulent employer seeking monetary donations.

In almost all of these cases, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign students were contacted through LinkedIn by a person seeking an administrative assistant and purporting to be an employer for The is a legitimate website, but the person contacting students is not affiliated with the business, nor are they acting on its behalf.

Students who are contacted by this person should not respond. Students should notify their local police department and report the crime to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center at

University officials and the are working to have the fraudulent profiles removed from LinkedIn.

In most of the reports, students have been asked to complete a menial task like compiling a list of all the high schools in the state, and in some cases were asked to purchase supplies with a promise of reimbursement on the next paycheck. Shortly after, students are asked to donate money to a charity on the employer’s behalf – in a recent report, the scammer asked the student to wire money to Nigeria as a donation to an orphanage.

The scammer then cuts off communication upon confirmation that the money is sent. Once the money is wired, it often is not recoverable.

Job-seekers should never accept any job from someone who wants to send or receive a check or cash before the applicant is hired or actually working.

Some other commonalities between recent reports of deceptive practices exist:

  • Fraudulent employers have sought some sort of assistant.
  • Applicants are asked to set up a Yahoo! Messenger account to communicate with the fraudulent employer.
  • Applicants are asked to complete a series of menial tasks before asking the applicant to wire money to someone else’s account.
  • Applicants may be asked to buy supplies with a promise of reimbursement.

An example of a fraudulent LinkedIn communication is pictured below:

Fraudulent LinkedIn message.