Pet walker email scam targets students

A series of scam emails offering students a phony job and asking for personal information have been circulating around UTA.

The possible scams have targeted student emails seeking a “pet walker/pet sitter” willing to work for a rate of $300 per week. Students are asked to use their personal email instead of their school email to contact the person in charge of hiring.

The emails are part of a scam where the receiver is sent checks and asked to deposit them, UTA Police Capt. Mike McCord said in an email.

“The sender asks the recipient to purchase gift cards and send that information,” McCord said. “The recipient eventually learns the checks are fraudulent, which results in the loss for the amount of the gift cards, which is considered a theft.”

The Office of Information Technology released an email last week warning about this scam and others like it. The office cited the Federal Trade Commission warning to never accept gift cards as a payment.

"Anyone who demands payment by gift card is always, always, always a scammer," according to the Federal Trade Commission.

A male student reported a scam on June 11. He was sent checks, asked to purchase $1,400 in Amazon gift cards and send the gift card information to the requester.

The bank informed the student the checks he deposited were fraudulent.

Scammers are able to get information from any company with an internet presence, according to the Office of Information Technology. They can obtain emails by purchasing them from other scammers or by using the “Find People” function on the UTA website.

The Office of Information Technology recommends looking at the “From” and “Reply-to” in the email address, the body of the message that is being sent and the instructions that are being provided to make sure the email is valid.

Students are also encouraged to reach out to phish@uta.edu if an email looks suspicious.

@c_amaya7

news-editor.shorthorn@uta.edu

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