Email Scam Alert - Part time work assistant needed/Internship

To: UC Santa Cruz Community

From: Chief of Police, Nader Oweis and Chief Information Security Officer, Brian Hall

The UC Santa Cruz Police Department and ITS Information Security are asking members of the campus community to beware of email scams being perpetrated on students offering part time work assistance and/or internships.

The scam looks something like this:

You receive an email to your UCSC.EDU email address encouraging you to apply for a job. The message appears to come from the Career Center or often referred to as the job placement office, student services department, or even a specific professor. When you reply to the message, things start to get strange. The "employer" hires you without an interview. Then, they send you a check with instructions to purchase gift cards, money orders, prepaid debit cards, or other supplies you’ll need for your new job. However, the check is a fake – a detail your bank will let you know a day or two after you deposit it. Any money you sent to your "employer" is gone for good. Plus, you have to deal with the ramifications of a fake check with your bank.

Remember to never reveal personal information in email correspondence, phone, or text message to anyone you do not know. Further, members of the campus community are advised not to purchase gift cards and cash or deposit checks from unfamiliar companies.

How to avoid employment scams:
  • Do your research. Before you say yes to any job, research the company that wants to hire you. Does the company have a professional website and legitimate contact information? Search for what others are saying about their experience with this company.
  • Confirm your employment. Call the company back using a phone number listed online and verify you are speaking to the actual employee responsible for hiring.
  • Beware of red flags. Scammers often send emails with many typos and grammatical errors. They offer to hire you without an interview and even pay you before you’ve done any work. None of these are behaviors of a reputable business.
  • Never send money to strangers. Never send funds in the form of cash, checks, gift cards or wire transfers to someone you don’t know or haven’t met. No legitimate company will ask you to pay them to get a job.
  • Do not provide your banking information. Until you confirm you are working with an actual business, that is actually hiring you, and not someone malicious.
Here are a few clues that the message is a forgery:

  • The email from address is from a generic email address such as '' or '' versus a corporate business email address or a UCSC email address.
  • The potential employer is asking for personal information such as, street address, DOB, mobile number, and an alternative email (different from your email address).
  • The potential employer directs you to make purchases on their behalf such as supplies and/or gift cards, or blank checks.
  • The grammar and sentence structure is poor.
  • If you receive an email containing a message that you did not expect, especially with words like "Internship" or "Work Assistant Needed" or “Employment" do not engage.
  • If the email is unsolicited and offering money, do not engage.
What to do:

When you receive a phishing email, do not respond to it; instead, train your spam filter by reporting it to Google. No need to report phishing emails to the ITS Support Center unless you have responded directly to the phish.

To train your spam filter:
  • Open the message in Gmail (in your web browser)
  • Click the three vertical dots ' ⋮ ' next to reply
  • Choose 'Report phishing'
If you believe you have been a victim of fraud or identity theft, immediately notify your local police jurisdiction and cease all contact with the suspect organization. You can also contact the UC Santa Cruz Police Department Dispatch Center to speak with an officer at 831-459-2231 (option 1).

For more information:

To learn more about how to avoid employment scams, see You can also find valuable information at More information on phishing and scams.

Thank you.