University warns students about phishing scam

LOCATION:
CITY OF WILKES-BARRE
PERSONS INVOLVED:

VICTIM RAMON TORRES H/M DOB 3-23-1994
NO KNOWN ADDRESS

SUSPECT SEAN TALMAGE B/M a/k/a JUICE
6' BLACK HAIR BROWN EYES

WILKES-BARRE, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) - It seemed inviting - an email promising college students summer work. Three hundred dollars a week sounded like good money to Angel Reese and Heather Evans. To get the job, all they had to do was respond with their birth date, address and phone number. But, as it turns out, scammers used a "phishing" technique to target the Wilkes University students.

 

"A little while later, I got an email, saying a check will be coming soon," said Evans.

 

The person identified in the email as "Dr. Frank Rudy" even followed up with Evans through text messages to ensure she received the check.       He instructed her to keep $300 and deposit the rest into another account. But Evans sensed something was off.

           

"Just the fact that the check is from New Jersey and the business is from Austria and the envelope was from Sacramento," said Evans.

 

Police and a credit union determined the checks Evans and Reese received were fake. After receiving several reports, Wilkes University sent this email warning it's students about the scam.

 

Chief Albert Walker with the Hanover Township Police Department says he occasionally gets reports about phishing scams.            He says while the students should not have provided their personal information, they were smart to not cash the checks. He says that may have compromised their banking information.

 

"If you're getting $200 for something you did not earn, you should not be cashing checks," said Chief Walker.

           

And Reese and Evans learned an important lesson.

 

"Don't trust everyone who emails you," said Reese.

 

We called the number that reached out to Evans about the check and we did not receive a call back. The person who sent the email claimed to be from the organization, “SOS Children’s Villages International”. It is a legitimate organization. On its website, the group indicates that it is are aware of the scam.

           

Anyone who has received a check due to this phishing scam should not cash the check and should destroy the check upon receipt. Wilkes University says its information technology department routinely sends emails to faculty, staff and students -- warning them when phishing scams are found in the university's email system.


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