Job Offer Scams On The Rise

Apr 24, 2024

Student job offer scams are used by attackers to steal money, gain personal information such as credit card numbers, bank account numbers and social security numbers, or even get you entangled in illegal activity. Its important to learn how these scams work and what to look for, so you can stay safe on your job search. 


How Do Job Offer Scams Work?

Typically you will receive an unsolicited email that invites you to apply for or start a job. The job is often presented to you with unusually desirable conditions such as short hours, easy work, high pay, and the ability to work from home. These scams can start with someone offering to help you with your resume or even go as far as scheduling an interview, that is often easy and light on actual job details. 

Here are examples of two of the more popular scams:

  • Students are sent a fake check and asked to handle, transfer, or spend the money for seemingly legitimate purposes like ordering office supplies or starting the hiring process. Although you may receive a check, that check will typically bounce, and you are out the money you transferred or spent.
  • Students will be asked to send money in the form of gift cards or cryptocurrency like Bitcoin: two methods of sending money that are untraceable, and unrecoverable.


How Do You Know If an Unexpected Job Offer Is a Scam?

Scams are GENERIC. Scams are UNSOLICITED. Scams are TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE.

Red Flags:

  • Too Good to Be True: If an offer seems too good to be true, exercise caution.
  • Check References: Verify any recruiter’s references directly with the college faculty member they claim to know.
  • Scrutinize Email Addresses: Legitimate recruiters use corporate email accounts, not personal ones like Gmail.
  • Avoid Sharing Personal Information: Never provide sensitive data during initial conversations.

Sample message:

Subject: Part-Time Admin Assistant Offer.

Dear Students/Staff,

 This job opportunity should be done at leisure time, taking at most 1 hour per day, 2-3 times a week and earning $600 Weekly. If working from home would be great, Therefore, you have been offered an awesome Opportunity at the comfort of your home or campus, this opportunity will serve as a gateway to pay all expenses incurred on campus. It’s a Flexible Opportunity where you will determine your working time. You can be in any location and work from your home/school send ' I'M INTERESTED' To { <randomaddress>  } using your personal email address only.


How Do You Verify The Legitimacy Of a Job Offer?

Visit the Organization’s Website

  • If the organization in question doesn't have a website or the website doesn't seem to match the advertised job, there may be cause for concern. Note the professionalism of the website. Is there specific contact information? Are jobs and career information actually posted on the site? Lack of pertinent information is a red flag.

Use Personal Contacts, LinkedIn, or Other Networking Sites

  • Do you have any connections to help you find inside information? If you belong to a professional association, they may be able to put you in touch with people who can advise you. Search LinkedIn by "People" and the advanced search fields for "Company Name." Click the "Current Companies Only" checkbox to receive information on people currently listed as employed by this company.

Use Google

  • Search by the name of the organization to gather information and recent news. You can also search by "scam" to look for signs the company has been reported in any type of fraudulent activity.


Additional Resources: