October 26, 2012

Students asked to be wary of unsolicited emails

by Pete Rosenbery

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- The Southern Illinois University Carbondale Department of Public Safety is alerting students and the public to the dangers of responding to unsolicited emails after two students recently became victims and lost several thousand dollars.

In each instance, the students sent money from their personal accounts to a person in Missouri after depositing bogus checks they received by courier. The checks the students received and deposited were rejected by banks for insufficient funds.

The students initially received unsolicited emails offering part-time jobs, said Kay Doan, SIU police captain. After several email exchanges, both students received checks for $3,500, although neither student had performed any work. The students were told to withdraw a majority of the money they deposited, and forward it to an address in Missouri.

An email to the student living off campus came with a promise of a part-time accounting job, while the email to the student living on campus came with a promise of a job as a personal assistant, Doan said.

In a third recent case, a student responded to a similar "help wanted" advertisement, but became suspicious after receiving a $3,500 check and contacted SIU Carbondale police.

The SIU Department of Public Safety, Carbondale Police Department, and U.S. Postal Inspection Service are investigating.

Doan emphasizes that people need to be cautious when receiving unsolicited emails promising money for work they have never performed, and subsequently receiving a check even though they have not done any work.

If anyone receives an email they suspect might be a scam, they can contact the SIU Carbondale Department of Public Safety at 618/453-3771 for investigation, Doan said.