Monday, March 12, 2012

Protect Yourself: Job Scams

As a college student, money and time are constantly in short supply.  So when emails promising huge payouts for minimal work make it into my inbox, it’s tempting to act on them.  Although it can be difficult to determine if a job offer is legitimate or not, there are several red flags to be on the lookout for:
  • An employer promises you a job.  Scammers word advertisements and emails to make it sound like a job is waiting for you.  In reality, they are only selling general information about finding a job— information that you likely can already access for free.
  • An employer asks for personal information such as social security or bank account numbers.  Regardless of the reason or excuse given by the employer, never give out social security, bank account or driver’s license numbers over the phone or email.
  • An employer requests money up front.  Be skeptical of job offers that require you to send or wire money in order to get the job, even if it guarantees a refund.  You’re applying for a job in order to make money; why should you pay the employer?  Legitimate employers won’t ask you to pay for the promise of a job.
  • The email contains several spelling and grammatical errors.  A majority of scam emails are sent by scammers located outside of the United States.  English usually isn’t their first language, so emails are filled with poor grammar and misspelled words. 
  • The pay seems too good to be true.  The adage holds true for jobs:  if it seems too good to be true, it probably is.  Scammers highlight high salaries and good benefits for little experience or simple jobs in order to lure job hunters into their scam. 
To learn more about the warning signs of scam emails and advertisements and for information about how to protect yourself, check out these links:
If you have any questions about a job email or advertisement and want to consult with someone, please feel free to contact Career and Employment Services.

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