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NIU employees: beware of phishing scams

January 21, 2015

phishing-scamPolice Chief Tom Phillips cautions Northern Illinois University employees may receive fraudulent e-mails indicating a change in their human resource status and issued a community awareness bulletin to warn the campus community. The e-mails contain a link directing the employee to login to what appears to be the human resources website to identify this change but is actually an effort to steal employee credentials.

“Once the employee enters his/her login information, the scammer can take that information to sign into the employee’s official human resources account to change the employee’s direct deposit information to redirect the employee’s paycheck to the bank account of another individual involved in the scam,” says NIU Police Chief Tom Phillips, noticing this fraudulent activity is happening at institutions across the country.

The scam can result in big problems for both the employee and the university, including the following:

  • 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.

Phillips says the FBI offers some good advice on how to be protected from this scam. Tips include the following:

  • 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 via e-mail.

In addition, Phillips advises to contact Human Resources and DoIT if a suspicious e-mail is received. Victims of this scam may file a complaint with the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center at in addition to contacting NIU Police.