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RCTC students duped by scam

December 23, 2018

Two Rochester Community and Technical College students have fallen prey to a scam which resulted in them losing more than $1,000 each, according to the Rochester Police Department.

Rochester Police Capt. Casey Moilanen said Friday morning that two students had fallen prey to a scam email sent to an unstated number of RCTC students offering a personal/office assistant position.

The scam involves an email of a job offer in which once a person accepts, they are sent a check and told to deposit it into their own account, Moilanen explained. The person is then instructed to withdraw a portion of the check and either wire it to another person or purchase gift cards with the money and then mail them, Moilanen said. The checks eventually bounce, and the person who cashed the check has lost the money they have either wired or bought gift cards with, Moilanen said.

One of the victims, a 17-year-old woman, lost $1,200 after depositing a $1,970 check and then purchasing iTunes gift cards, Moilanen said.

An 18-year-old man lost $2,000 after depositing a $2,250 check and then wiring the vast majority back to the person, according to Moilanen.

Last month, the college sent an email to students warning them there was an “email phishing scam going around that attackers are using in an attempt to defraud students with fraudulent employment offers,” the email read.

The email, provided to the Post Bulletin by Nate Stoltman, RCTC executive director of communications, laid out a similar scam description to the most recent one the two students faced.

In the warning, students were told to report suspicious emails to the school’s tech help email and not click any of the links.

“Remember: always be very careful when someone contacts you that you were not expecting (with an offer of employment, a free prize, your password has expired, etc., and asks for your personal information, or for you to send them money) it is most likely a SCAM!,” the email read.

Stotlman said Friday afternoon that phishing scams and cybersecurity threats were not unique to the school.

“We feel awful for these students who got affected by this,” Stoltman said. “But again, it only then goes to show how necessary it is to be vigilant on watching what students click on and being very, very careful what information you are sharing online.”

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