The Help Desk has been alerted that students were being targeted with phony requests for a tutor (example follows). Though the email may sound legitimate and asks only that you respond to it (no links or requests for personal information), it is only the first step in establishing a relationship that would eventually lead to the “advance payment scam”, in which the victim deposits a phony check into his or her bank account and becomes liable to the bank for the balance. Here’s one explanation of how the scam works.
To receive scam alerts from the FTC or to learn how to report one, visit their Consumer Information Scam Alerts page. For more background on the “tutor scam”, read parents.berkeley.edu/tutors/scam.html or scambusters.org/tutorscam.html.
Example as received (note typos and grammatical errors):
How are you doing? My name is Alice Klopp I am presently looking for a part time tutor for my son in the area. After surfing your department’s website, I decided to contact with my request. We need someone to work with him when he arrives on his French .
Ethan is a high school graduate here in Switzerland,he is a basketball player and we are hoping he can use the spring and summer break to train and improve his French. He resumes College in France this fall.
Let me know your hourly rates and also time during the week and on week ends you will be available to coach him (total number of hours you can use with him a week). Please let us hear from you soon as he would be in America in a couple of days/week to stay with my sister in-law for the time been and I will very much appreciate it very much if you can introduce me to someone qualified in the case you are not available.