FBI San Diego
Special Agent Davene Butler
(858) 320-1800
January 14, 2015

FBI Warns of University Employee Payroll Scam

University employees are receiving fraudulent e-mails indicating a change in their human resource status. The e-mail contains a link directing the employee to login to their human resources website to identify this change. The website provided appears very similar to the legitimate site in an effort to steal the employee’s credentials. Once the employee enters his/her login information, the scammer takes that information and signs into the employee’s official human resources account to change the employee’s direct deposit information. This redirects the employee’s paycheck to the bank account of another individual involved in the scam.

Consequences of this scam:

  • The employee’s paycheck can be stolen.
  • The money may not be returned in full to the employee.
  • The scammers can take the employee’s log-in credentials and attempt to log into other accounts that belong to the employee.

Tips on how to protect yourself from this scam:

  • Look for poor use of the English language in e-mails such as incorrect grammar, capitalization, and tenses. Many of the scammers who send these messages are not native English speakers.
  • Roll your cursor over the links received via e-mail and look for inconsistencies. If it is not the website the e-mail claims to be directing you to, then the link is to a fraudulent site.
  • Never provide credentials of any sort via e-mail. This includes after clicking on links sent via e-mail. Always go to an official website rather than from a link sent to you via e-mail.
  • Contact your personnel department if you receive suspicious e-mail.

If you have been a victim of this scam, you may file a complaint with the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center at www.IC3.gov. Please reference Public Service Announcement (PSA) number I-011315b-PSA in your complaint.

The IC3 produced a PSA in May 2014 titled “Cyber-related Scams Targeting Universities, Employees, and Students,” which mentioned this scam. The PSA can be viewed at http://www.ic3.gov/media/2014/140505.aspx.