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December 1, 2022

Online and App Scams Target College-aged Students Too!

Posted in: Announcements, Featured News, Red Hawk News, Safety

The University Police Department has seen an increase in reports of fraud and extortion related to both fake job offerings or dating fraud. These scams are not selective of Montclair State University necessarily but are generic in nature and targeted to vulnerable individuals. Scammers consistently target college-aged students through email and apps such as Snapchat and Instagram.

How to Protect Yourself

  • If you receive an unsolicited job offer or monetary reward you should immediately be suspicious of this. Check the Career Services web page Avoid Job Scams and Fraud for more information. Also read Information Technology’s web page about Phishing.
  • Never agree to accept money or buy gift cards at the instructions of someone you do not know or even someone whose name might seem familiar.
  • Online solicitations that seem “too good to be true” are many times just that.
  • Never send personal information, bank information or agree to transfers of any kind. If you should for some reason, understand clearly you may be solicited for more and that you may compromise your identity safety. Stop immediately and report this activity to the police.

What’s “Sextortion?”

There is a common “sextortion” scam that is being seen in all corners of the globe. Scammers posting as young women or men begin a conversation flirting with an unsuspecting individual on Snapchat or Instagram, ask the person to switch to another platform or app, and then solicit sexual pictures. When the photos or videos are sent, the scammer immediately sends a demand for money via Cashapp or Venmo and threatens to share the photos with the victim’s contacts on the app. In an online environment it can be difficult to navigate who is real and who is not. We strongly urge all to be sure they know who they are sending information or photos to.

If for some reason you find yourself in a situation where someone is demanding money – stop immediately and know your police agency here at Montclair State University will work to help you as best we can with care to your privacy. The scammers will be relentless for money and become threatening despite many times being thousands of miles away – your fear is real and we can help start the process of ending the harassment.

Best Practices

A few recommendations to keep a safer profile:

  • Be selective about what you share online and who you share it with.
  • Be wary of messages from strangers. If you don’t know them, it’s best to ignore or block them.
  • Know that people can pretend to be anyone online, and be conscious of catfishing.
  • Do not share explicit photos of yourself, especially with someone you don’t know. Just because you believe it’s private doesn’t mean it always will be.
  • Be suspicious of individuals who ask you to switch to a different platform to chat.
  • Report suspicious accounts or behavior to the platform you are using and, if we can help, the University Police or Division of Information Technology
  • Trust your instincts. If something sounds too good or too sketchy to be true, it probably is.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact University Police at 973-655-5222 and you may also use the E-TIPS texting service.

Chief Kieran Barrett
Interim Chief of Police
Montclair State University Police Department

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Posted in Dating AppsTagged datingapps, Dont, lovescams, scammed, Services, student

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