Job scam swindled $2,400 from North Carolina A&T student

Tuesday, May 21, 2024
GREENSBORO, N.C. (WTVD) -- A scam targeting college and high school students swindled $2,400 from a North Carolina A&T student.

"It's just emotionally, financially devastating for me," Ariana Duval said.

Duval is finishing up her junior year at NC A&T. She got an email about a paid research opportunity for this summer and thought it would be perfect for her.

"It talked about having a $450 weekly pay, and that we have great research experience," she said.

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The professor named in the email that alerted Duval to the opportunity was a professor at NC A&T.

"It's a real professor's name, and I tried to do my light research to make sure it was not a scam," Duval said. She applied for the job, got hired, and was emailed instructions about the next steps.

She got a check for $2,400. The check had the NC A&T logo in the corner.

"They gave me that check for office supplies at the expense of the research department."

Her bank deposited the check, and then she got more instructions on what to do with that $2,400.

"They told me to Zelle that and send that money to their 'sales representative' who would give me the office supplies, since it was going to be for a remote research position," Duval explained.

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So she did as she was instructed. She sent the $2,400 through the payment app, Zelle, and before she could start her new job, her bank let her know the check was bad.

"When the bank realized that the validity of the check was a bogus check, they took the money out of my account, and now I'm in a deficit," Duval told Troubleshooter Diane Wilson.

Duval now owes the bank the $2,400.

"It feels like, it's just like a hole I can't crawl out of. It's just emotionally devastating. I cried so much yesterday because I should have never answered the email. I should have never done any of these things," Duval said.

This scam continues to strike students at NC A&T, as the University sent this alert last year about the scam impersonating faculty members and has a warning on its website about jobs, summer employment, and internship scams.

This scam is also impacting students across the county. The Better Business Bureau said employment scams are a top complaint.

"If you're getting a job offer, typically you have to interview for a job. If it's something that pops out of nowhere too good to be true and all you just have to pay for equipment, big red flag," BBB's Alyssa Parker said.

Another tip: Take a close look at the sender's email address. In Duval's case while the scammer claimed to be a professor, the email address used is a Gmail account, as opposed to ending in .edu.

Another red flag is being asked to send money you just received through a payment app to someone else. That's a sign that whatever you're doing is likely not above board.
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