Suspicious email

Charles Beers, Staff Writer

Following much investigation, the Career Development Center (CDC) staff determined that certain students had misinterpreted the objective of an email they had received and initially mistrusted. These students had been contacted by a company called Meed through an individual named Jessica Knowles, who students thought was claiming to be the Career Advisor for the University. In the message, Knowles invited students to check out the jobs section of the website and asked the students to submit personal information to the company to create a profile.

According to Executive Director of Career Services Pamela Keiser, Meed is not another phishing scam devised to trick us into giving away our personal information. Rather, Meed is a legitimate start-up company in its early stages of development.

“Meed is supposed to assist in facilitating interactions between students and employers,” Keiser said.

Upon further examination, the CDC discovered that the organization served as an online platform that recently announced its official countrywide launch at the end of 2015. To ensure the safety of University students in search of employment opportunities, the CDC staff members were very thorough in their search. Keiser said that she talked to colleagues at four other top-tier universities to see if they knew anything about the company. The University of Pennsylvania, Princeton University, and Cornell University had never heard of Meed, while Columbia University was attempting to get a point of contact to figure out if the program would benefit students.

An article published on the Recruiting Times website verifies that Meed is a company with good intentions. The publication lists the benefits of the program and how it “gives recruiters the ability to measure a student’s potential based on more than just their limited professional experience.” The article also states that 28 universities have already made the service available to their students, including Stanford University, Harvard University, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

The wording of the email led to the confusion that Knowles, whom the CDC staff had never heard of nor worked with before, was trying to portray herself as being connected to the University. Knowles stated that she was the “Career Advisor for Bucknell at Meed,” which may have falsely led students to believe that she was affiliated with the career advisors working in the CDC and thereby a genuine source for future employment. This small distinction in phrasing is an important reminder that students must always read through their emails carefully so that they are not misled by the internships and jobs they are signing up for.

While the negative suspicions surrounding the Meed emails have been illuminated and debunked, it does not downplay the importance of exercising caution when responding to emails that ask for personal information. Keiser warned that there are still plenty of phishing scams happening today, many of which “offer job and internship opportunities that are not really legitimate opportunities at all.” It is important to go with your gut instinct when you come into contact with such emails, as well as to contact the CDC whenever you feel that these job emails are being sent with malicious intent.

Keiser said that it is vital to be a savvy job searcher when planning out future careers.

“It is important to stay one step ahead of the game, check your sources, and be aware of what you are sharing with others,” Keiser said. “With these tools, you can move forward with a level of confidence.”

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