Cyber Security: Staying safe on the online job hunt

6 News Cyber Safety

LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – Bill Morgan is with Michigan State University’s career services. He has helped connect students to jobs before and after graduation. During that time, he’s also seen a lot of scams.

Morgan says the first step in protecting students from job scams is good IT security and using trusted job boards like Handshake.

“Handshake is quickly notified by this flagging system and they lock up the account, they search it out, they determine what’s really going on and they take the appropriate actions,” said Morgan.

He says using university-approved websites and student email makes it easier to detect spam emails and phishing attempts.

Morgan says one scam now tries to get students out of MSU’s safety net by connecting through personal emails or text.

“They are trying to take us out of the mix because if we’re not in the mix, we can’t put up blocks, firewall blocks for this particular email that they’re using,” said Morgan.

The Better Business Bureau of Eastern Michigan has gotten more than 50 reports of employment scams from around the state in the last 6 months. One expert says that reporting scams when you spot one can help protect others

If the site gives you an option to report it, obviously do that. But for us, you can go to our [scam tracker] and that’s where you can report any scams to us. Give us any attachments, any email correspondence if you’ve been corresponding,” said Ashley Gibbard, of the Better Business Bureau of Eastern Michigan.

Gibbard has a few tips for what to look for in a scam listing

“It’s important to take a beat, read through the listing, if there are typos, that’s a red flag. If they are offering you a substantial amount of money comparatively for what you are seeing for other jobs. That’s a red flag as well. I know that sounds tempting but you need to rationalize does this make sense that they would be paying me this amount of money for the job,” said Gibbard.

But what if you or someone you know falls victim to one of these scams?

Detective Sergeant James Terrill with the Michigan State University police says that reporting the crime is the first step.

“Often that involves conducting search warrants and determining where email addresses are originating from and any associated IP addresses,” said Terrill.

Yet with all the scams and risks online, Morgan says that students and systems are getting smarter and better

“They are being careful, more careful than maybe in the past. And I think the systems in place, like in our school, have improved a lot. They’ve always been good and they just keep getting better because the bad actors keep getting better.”

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