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How to Spot a Scam

Have you seen messages that offer you lots of money for little to no work on your part? Messages like these are scams. The old saying “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is” is a good rule of thumb. If an offer is sent to you that sounds easy or will make you money quickly; you can pretty much guarantee the person on the other end of that email is trying to scam you.

Here are four quick tips for recognizing a scam:

  • Promises of money or easy work
  • It’s Urgent! You must act now!
  • They need personal information like social security number, credit card, bank accounts, or identifiers like mother’s maiden name.
  • If you don’t act, you’ll have to pay a fine. Common threats include IRS audits.

Don’t get sucked into a scam. Remember that easy money doesn’t exist. And no legitimate company will ever call you or email you to ask for your password, social security number, or credit card information to prevent something bad from happening. If they are threatening you in any way, such as with fines, loss of account access, or saying you committed a crime, it is probably fake.

OIT posts email scams to the Recent Email Scams tab within the OIT System Status Center.  You can check this site to see if a suspicious email has already been reported.

Check the Center for Career Development’s Fraudulent Job Posting Guide for information about fraudulent job postings.  The Center is happy to assist students who have questions about potentially fraudulent part-time job opportunities.

If you have concerns about a specific email, you may report the email to OIT via abuse@utk.edu or contact the OIT HelpDesk.

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