Fake Student Job Postings Scam
DON'T FALL FOR FAKE STUDENT JOB POSTINGS
Job's that sound too good to be true should raise a red flag for any college student. Fake job postings are being sent via unsolicited emails to student accounts and are even showing up in online job listing sites. Titles like "work from home" or "part-time job offer" are being sent to students across Duquesne University sometimes appearing to be legitimate from another Duquesne University community member offering a few hundred dollars a week in pay.
The attackers are preying on students who are looking for ways to make a few extra bucks. They gain a student's trust by sending a check in the mail which turns out to be fraudulent or is cancelled a few days after deposit. These fake job postings are attempts to steal your personal information about you and to try to steal money or bank account information from you.
COMMON JOB SCAMS TARGETING COLLEGE STUDENTS:
- Mystery shoppers
- Envelope stuffing from home
- Repackaging or shipping from home
- Issuing checks/check processing from home
- Model/talent agencies
- Pyramid sales schemes
- A variety of scams where a student is asked to pay for certification, training materials, or equipment with promise of reimbursement
Watch out for over-payment scams. These are often posted as a bookkeeper, personal assistant, administrative assistant, etc., to assist in processing checks or mystery/secret shoppers. The "company" sends a check to the "assistant" (student), who is then responsible for taking their "salary" out of the check and wiring the remainder of the money back to the "company." These checks are fraudulent and can leave you out thousands of dollars and facing criminal charges.
BEWARE IF THE E-MAIL OR JOB POSTING:
- Does not indicate the company name
- Comes from an e-mail address that doesn't match the company name
- Does not give the employer contact information-title of person sending the e-mail, company address, phone number, etc.
- Offers to pay a large amount for almost no work
- Offers you a job without ever interacting with you
- Asks you to pay an application fee
- Wants you to transfer money from one account to another
- Offers to send you a check before you do any work
- Asks you to give your credit card or bank account numbers
- Asks for copies of personal documents
- Says you must send payment by wire service or courier
- Offers you a large payment for allowing the use of your bank account-often for depositing checks or transferring money
- Sends you an unexpectedly large check
- They ask you to send them the following information in email:
- Zip Code
- Copy of Your ID or Driver's License
- Cell Phone Number
No legitimate employer will send payment in advance and ask the employee to send a portion of it back. DO NOT provide any personal information especially Social Security numbers or financial information!
RESEARCHING ADS AND EMPLOYERS
RESEARCH EVERY OPPORTUNITY
Find out of the job and company are legitimate. You want to determine whether the job and company are a good fit for you. You should also find out where to send a targeted resume and cover letter. If you can't find an address, you should be suspicious. Also, if there is no posted jobs on their website for the one they contacted you about, it likely isn't legitimate.
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, LINKED-IN 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 Linked-In 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.
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.
CHECK WITH CONSUMER SERVICES
Two organizations to utilize are: the Better Business Bureau or the Federal Trade Commission to see if any complaints have been lodged against the company.
INVESTIGATE THE COMPANY'S REFERENCES
If you aren't sure a company is legitimate, request a list of employees or contractors. Then contact the references to see how satisfied they are. If a company isn't willing to share references (names, e-mail addresses and phone numbers), this is a red flag. You may want to research the references a bit as well, to be sure they are legitimate.
BE SUSPICIOUS OF POOR COMMUNICATION SKILLS
Be careful when an employer cannot communicate accurately or effectively on the website, by e-mail, over the telephone, etc. If communications are sloppy, how professional is the organization?
EXERCISE CAUTION WHEN ASKED TO PAY ANY FEE
Most legitimate employers will not charge to hire you! Don't send money for work-at-home directories, advice on getting hired, to obtain company information or for anything else related to the job. There are some well-known Career Services to determine if the program is legitimate.
AVOID ACCEPTING CHECKS AS ADVANCES
No legitimate employer will send payment in advance and ask the employee to send a portion of it back. DO NOT provide any personal information especially Social Security numbers or financial information! No employer would ever send you a large check for work you haven't completed or for more money than your job pays.
REVIEW PAYMENT INFORMATION
When information about salary isn't listed on a job posting, try to find out if you will receive a salary or be paid on commission. Find out how much you're paid, how often you are paid and how you are paid. If the company doesn't pay an hourly rate or a salary, be cautious and investigate further.
BEWARE: SCAM ADS CAN BE FOUND IN LEGITIMATE PUBLICATIONS
Read all information carefully. If the opportunity sounds too good to be true, it probably is! Just because a job lead appears in a legitimate publication, it doesn't mean that the job or company is, necessarily, legitimate. Forget about getting rich quick.
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION ABOUT JOB SCAMS