SECURITY ALERT: New "secret shppper" email scams reported


CSIT has received reports this morning of a widely distributed email scam.  The scam is similar in many respects to others about which we have previously warned, but because of the number of reports we are repeating our security alert.

The instances of the email scam appear to come from valid NWU email accounts and has the Subject “Part-Time/Job Opportunity!!!”.  The body of the messages present as recruiting applicants for a job, promising up to $300 per week without interfering with any other employment or studies.  The messages offer a URL to follow for those interested in applying for the job.  The URL, if followed, will take the recipient to a site which collects their contact information.  The message ends with a signature suggesting that it comes from an office of NWU, specifically claiming to originate from “Job Placement & Student Services.”

THIS IS A SCAM. The originating NWU accounts – while valid – have been compromised. There is no NWU office called “Job Placement & Student Services.”  The purpose of the scam is to engage the recipient, develop trust.  Ultimately, the scammer(s) will provide the victim with some type of purchase request along with “payment,” often in the form of a cheque.  The victim is tricked into transmitting something of value to the scammer – typically gift cards – under the impression that the cost of the purchase is covered by the “payment” they received.  They ultimately discover that the cheque is of no value.

We are working now to re-secure the compromised accounts used to distribute these scams and to remove instances of these scams from NWU mailboxes.  Please, if you have received the message describe above, delete it and do not engage.  Similar messages with slight variations of sender, text and target URL may well follow; such scams tend to come is waves.  As always, please use extreme caution in handling your incoming email, regardless the source, and particular messages offering opportunities for easy money with little or no effort.  “Too good to be true” is usually just that!