Don’t get phished by a job opportunity scam

Job opportunity scams target students by using real professor names and emails.

Job scams luring potential employees with their covert and seemingly legitimate employment opportunities are not new in the world of cybersecurity threats. In fact, in 2022 the Edmonton Police Service received 148 reports of employment scams with a total financial loss of nearly $360,000.

Phishers are good at what they do. And while you might know some of the warning signs of a fake phishing email, if the bait looks legitimate, you can still get hooked. 

At the University of Alberta, job opportunity scams often target students by using a real professor's name and legitimate-looking email address to appear more genuine. In some instances, the phishing email will come from a compromised CCID holder, making the scam appear all the more realistic and viable to the target, with a “ ” email address. 

In other instances, a students’ or applicants' account is compromised and the attacker uses the U of A email to mass email the phishing campaign across the university, just like the example below.

Job Phishing Email Example 1

From: <>
Date: Fri, Dec 16, 2022, 12:18
Subject: Executive Assistant/Administrative Assistant !!!

[image: University of Alberta crest]

Hello Selected candidate,

We received your resume application via the University recruiting department, offering a part time position for all students and staff, this will only require 1-2hrs 3 days a week, no work experience or skill is required. You can make $650 weekly without affecting your regular activities or academics

To Apply, kindly follow the link or email/text below



It’s important to stay vigilant and not assume that just because it comes from a “” email address that it’s not harmful. Posing as a legitimate email address is a sneaky technique and methodology scammers use to appear increasingly authentic as we become more attune and aware of cybersecurity threats.

In another case targeting U of A students, a research position is advertised and asks those interested to contact the provided Gmail address that is made with a name matching a real professor at the university. From there, the cybercriminal will ask if the respondent can cover initial expenses of onboarding and office supplies of the phony job offer. The cybercriminal continues to ask for money until the victim either runs out of money or stops responding.

Job Phishing Email Example 2

The [REDACTED] is currently seeking the assistance of dedicated and computer-savvy students (both graduate and undergraduate) for a remote position as research assistants. In this role, you will have the opportunity to contribute to ongoing research initiatives and earn $350 weekly.

Details of the position:

Role: Research Assistant
Compensation: $350 weekly
Requirements: Computer proficiency
Availability: Limited slots; acceptance on a first-come, first-served basis

Interested candidates should contact Professor [REDACTED] via emial at [REDACTED] regarding the job description and further application requirements. In your email, kindly provide the following information:

Full name
Alternate Email Address

Please note that the available slots are limited, and we will be accepting applications on a first-come, first-served basis. 


Happy Holidays,

Job Phishing Email Example 3

Hello Assistant,

I received your message via tex. your application has been processed and you have been deemed qualified for the role as research assistant. Your hiring paperwork alongside all office supplies will be delivered to your address. However, there was an omission in the list of office supplies you will be working with, some softwares are to be installed in the Acer travelMate laptop you will be working with.

Are you able to cover the expenses worth $1,350 for these softwares so that they can be installed before delivery. A reimbursement check will be sent to you for the cost that you incurred.

Thanks for your understanding.

Phishing Safety Rule of Thumb

Rule of thumb: if it looks fishy, it probably is. As always, if you receive what you believe to be a phishing attempt, please forward it to with the subject link “Suspected Phishing Email.” The team will let you know if it's legitimate, and if it's not, the notice will help us protect the next potential victim.

For more information on phishing including what to watch out for and tips on recognizing a phishing attack, visit the CISO’s  Email & Phishing web page.