Career Development Avoiding Fraudulent Job Postings

Be Aware of Job Postings Scams

While you're working hard to make sure you land that perfect job, be aware that the perfect job may not be so perfect. Con artists and scammers post fraudulent jobs that sometimes are difficult to spot. Here are some tips on how to protect yourself if you think you may have applied for a fraudulent job.

Fraud Posting Red Flags

Although the staff in the Career Center review jobs and internship postings to determine legitimacy, we want to make you aware of these signs that a job or internship posting is fraudulent:

  • The job posting asks you to provide your credit card, bank account numbers, or other personal financial documentation.
  • You are offered a large payment or reward in exchange for allowing the use of your bank account (often for depositing checks or transferring money).
  • The posting appears to be from a reputable, familiar company ( often a Fortune 500 ), or even a well-known local establishment. Yet the domain in the contact's email address does not match the domain used by the representative of the company. This is typically easy to determine from the company's website.
  • The contact email address contains the domain @live.com, @hotmail.com, @yahoo.com, @gmail.com, etc.
  • The posting requires an initial investment, such as a payment by wire, service, or courier.
  • The posting includes many spelling and grammatical errors.
  • This posting initially appears as a traditional job but, upon further research, it sounds more like an independent contractor opportunity.
  • You receive an unexpectedly large check (checks are typically less than $500 and generally sent or deposited or Fridays).
  • You are asked to provide a photo of yourself.
  • The position is for any of the following: Envelope Stuffers, Home-based Assembly Jobs, Online Surveys.
  • The employer responds to you immediately after you submit your resume. Typically, resumes sent to an employer are reviewed by multiple individuals, or are not viewed until the posting has closed. NOTE: This does not include an auto-response you may receive from the employer acknowledging your resume submission.
  • Watch out for anonymity. If it is difficult to find an address, actual contact, company name, etc.., proceed with caution. Fraud postings are illegal, so scammers will try to keep themselves well-hidden.
  • When you "Google" the company name and the word "scam" ( e.g., Acme Company Scam ), and several scam reports concerning this company appear in the results. Another source for scam reports is: ripoffreport.com.
  • Google the employer's phone number, fax number and/or email address. If it does not appear connected to an actual business organization, this is a red flag. The employer contacts you by phone; however, there is no way to call the back. The number is not available.
  • Google Map the physical address of the organization. If the "street view" image does not appear to be a business operation, then it is more than likely a scam.
  • The employer tells you that they do not have an office set up in your area, and will need you to help them get it up and running (these postings often include a request for your banking information, supposedly to help the employer make transactions).
  • For more information on Fraudulent Jobs or Job Scams, please review the Federal Trade Commission's Consumer Information site at:consumer.ftc.gov.

What if You are Already Involved in a Scam?

The Federal Trade Commission ( FTC ) recommends the following:

  • The student should immediately contact University Police (931-372-3234). The University Police are responsible for conducting an investigation (regardless of whether the scam artist is local or in another state).
  • Please contact the Center for Career Development as well. Although we make every effort to review postings before they go live to our campus community, we want to be informed of illegal activity related to posting (so there will not be other victims).
  • If a student has already sent money to a fraud employer, the student should contact their bank or credit card company immediately. If the incident occurred completely over the internet, the student should file an incident report with the CCIPS: justice.gov/criminal-ccips, or by calling the FTC at: 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357).

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