Students: Beware of employment scams via email

December 7, 2023

Every year, students at UC Berkeley are scammed out of thousands of dollars via fake employment offers. Beware of unsolicited emails, phone calls, texts or even facebook messages offering internship or employment opportunities. If you receive a job offer, don’t trust it without verifying – contact the person offering the job via their contact info in the campus directory or via a departmental website.

Paid campus opportunities always require employment paperwork, and new hires are not asked to pay out of pocket for anything. To be safe, do not click on links within any email that you did not expect, and never fill out any unsolicited forms that ask for your personal or financial information.  

If you have been the victim of a scam, please file a report with UCPD and report suspicious email to or 510-664-9000 (option 4). 

If you receive one of these fraudulent messages, you can help others by reporting it as a phish

What is the impact on victims?

In this year alone, victims have lost more than $35,000, at an average loss of $2,515 each, and these numbers only account for what has been reported to the Information Security Office. In addition to losing money, fraud victims face consequences to class participation, grades, mental health and wellbeing.

How do students lose money?

These fraudulent job offers appear to come from professors, using either spoofed email addresses or non-berkeley emails accounts. The email will contain a subject line like “Berkeley Students Part-time Job Position,” “STUDENT INTERNSHIP,“ or “VIRTUAL JOB OPPORTUNITIES.”  Once you reply, the criminals move the conversation away from email, asking to be texted on a mobile number or having the student share a non-campus email or mobile number (which makes it harder for our security team to track).

Victims are asked to order equipment or other items and are told they will receive a check to cover the cost. The check turns out to be fake, the victim loses the money they paid, and may also incur overdraft, late fees, or have their bank account closed. These scammers will often put a lot of pressure on the victim to get this done quickly.

See Employment Scam Examples below for some actual examples of fraudulent emails and social media posts.

Employment Scam Examples

Spoofed Email Addresses

Spoofed email addresses are ones where the email address does not match the displayed name, such as an email address of "" with a display name of, for example, "Prof. Nicolas Tackett".

Also, watch out for non-Berkeley email accounts (where the email address does not end in but the displayed name still claims to be a professor's or university official's email address.

Initial Scam Email

University of California, Berkeley

The faculty/department of Computer Science urgently needs undergraduates to work virtually as research assistants at $350 per week.

Note: Candidates should be proficient in Microsoft Office and have a solid understanding of its capabilities (Excel, Word, and PowerPoint).

Your job will be done remotely, and you can accomplish all remote

chores whenever it's convenient for you to do so. The position is open to all university undergraduates from all departments.

Please text Prof. Murat Arcak at if you would (510) 216-7076

like to continue with the application process. Please provide your

full name, email address, department, and year of study in order to

get the job description and other application requirements.

Best Regards,


Prof. Murat Arcak

Title: Professor

Department of Computer Science

University of California, Berkeley

P: (510) 216-7076

Scam Email Follow-up

I need you to check online and get me the prices of Acer travelMate P648-M 14” Laptop, Brother MFC-L6700DW Laser Monochrome Printer, and Cosco Printer S 200 Self-inking Date Stamp, Kindly confirm once you have received this text.

Best Wishes

Professor: Thomas Dandelet

Department of History

University of California, Berkeley

Financial Fraud from Scam


As earlier discussed, attached is the paycheck to cover the expenses for the office supplies. A Sales Representative will be assigned to you and will assist you with the purchase of these items. However, you are required to return these supplies at the end of this position. You can also be allowed to keep these supplies for personal use to show gratitude for diligent work depending on how committed you are to this position. Kindly proceed to make a mobile deposit and inform me once completed for clearance. Further Assignments will be sent once the supplies are delivered. Kindly confirm via text once you have received this mail!

Kindly follow the instructions below to deposit your paycheck. Your paycheck covers your first salary and payment for the office items.

Print out and Cut it to a ( check size/shape ) At the back of your check

Endorse by writing Your

Full name

Mobile Deposit

Your account number


Once you are done you make a mobile deposit

Best Regards,


Prof. Nicolas Tackett

Title: Professor

Department of History

University of California, Berkeley


Back Check.pdf(226 KB)

Facebook Scam

An employment scam on Facebook about a "research opportunity" in the psychology department.

Here are a few more tips to stay safe:

Float like a butterfly

Float over links and addresses to reveal the truth