See our planning for 2020–21.

Scam information

Scammers use email, phone calls, text messages, social media, and even postal mail to steal money, identities, and financial or other personal information from their victims. Anybody can fall victim to a scam. We all lead busy lives, and we’re continually bombarded by all kinds of scams; it only takes a moment of inattention to fall into a trap.

Scammers can be very good at fooling people, and they try to rush you into giving them what they want before you have time to think. Please review the information below to learn about various scams and to and learn how to recognize the warning signs.

Imposter Scam

An imposter scam is when a person attempts to trick victims by pretending to be someone they are not. They may claim to be a government agency (IRS, lottery office, law enforcement official) or someone you know, such as a co-worker, supervisor, family member, or friend. They claim to have an urgent time-sensitive matter that requires you to send money to resolve the issue. Imposters try to get victims to pay them often in unusual ways: gift cards, pre-paid debit cards, wire transfers, or in bitcoin. Regardless of their tactics, their goal is the same: to get you to send them money.

Office Supply Scam

An office supply scam often involves goods or services that you regularly order: paper, toner, maintenance supplies, etc. You might receive a call from someone claiming to be the College’s regular supplier, telling you they have a special offer available for a limited time only. If you agree to buy any of these supplies, they will often be overpriced and bad quality. Additionally, you may receive an additional invoice claiming you have signed up to an ongoing supplier contract. If you believe you are contacted with a suspicious purchasing offer for the College, never agree to anything on the phone; always ask for the details in writing. Verify the legitimacy of suppliers or contracts and report any suspicious calls to our purchasing office.

Jobs & Employment Scams

Jobs and employment scams may offer you a way to make fast money or a high-paying job for little effort. The position may be to do something simple such as stuffing envelopes or assembling a product using materials that you have to buy from the "employer." To accept the job, you will be asked to pay for a starter kit or materials relevant to the position. You may even come across false job opportunities on classified ad websites. Another type of job opportunity scam asks you to use your bank account to receive and pass on payments for a foreign company. If you provide your account details, the scammer may use them to steal your money or commit other fraudulent activities.


Phishing is the practice of sending fraudulent emails appearing to come from a legitimate source in an attempt to trick you into giving out personal information such as passwords, bank accounts, and credit card numbers.  It’s also used to spread malware and viruses via websites and attachments.

Tips to protect yourself

  • A government agency or trusted business will never ask you to pay by unusual methods such as with gift cards, wire transfers, or bitcoin. Paying someone with these methods is like paying in cash, and you usually cannot get your money back.
  • Never give money, bank account, or credit card details or other personal information to anyone you don’t know or trust in response to an unexpected request. Always verify the legitimacy of a request for money. If you’re unsure whether a call or email is genuine, verify the identity of the contact through an independent source. Don’t use the contact details provided by the caller or in the message they sent to you.
  • Don’t believe your caller ID. It’s easy for scammers to fake caller ID information, so the name and number you see aren’t always real.
  • Never give anyone remote access to your computer if you’re contacted out of the blue, whether through a phone call, pop-up window, or email.
  • If something seems a little bit off, proceed with caution. It doesn’t necessarily mean you’re dealing with a scammer, but it’s worth slowing down, paying attention, and verifying the legitimacy before acting on something.

You can forward well-crafted phishing and scam messages to for IT Staff to evaluate. We use these messages to place blocks at our firewall preventing on-campus users from going to these fraudulent websites and from replying to the fraudulent messages. You can report scams to the FTC (Federal Trade Commission) at Your reports help the FTC investigate scams and bring these criminals to
Scammers can be good at being friendly, patient, and at fooling people. Scams succeed because they look like the real thing and catch you off guard when you’re not expecting it. Remember, if you’re contacted unexpectedly, always consider the possibility that it may be a scam. Stop and check if it’s for real. See a list of resources below for scam information and alerts.

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Hampshire College
893 West Street
Amherst, MA 01002