Avoid Fraudulent Job Postings

While you work hard to land an ideal job opportunity, be aware that what seems like a “perfect job” may not be so perfect. Con artists and scammers post fraudulent jobs that can be difficult to spot.

Here we list potential red flags, how to protect yourself, and what to do if you are worried that you applied for a fraudulent job.

Potential Red Flags

Being Asked for Financial or Personal Information

  • You are asked to provide your credit card, bank account number, or other personal financial information. Do NOT give out any financial information at any point during your job search or hiring process.
  • You are asked to provide your social security number and driver’s license information in the initial job application. Such information should never be asked for during the initial application process.
  • 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.
  • 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).
  • You receive an unexpectedly large check to deposit into your bank account.
  • Remember, never process ANY financial transactions. For example, some organizations offer opportunities to “make quick money.” They will offer a “one-day only special.” Their intent is to defraud you by sending or wiring money to your bank account. They will ask you to cash the check or send the monies to other accounts. Once your bank or financial institution processes the scammer’s check or financial request, you may be informed the monies are invalid or “not real.” In the meantime, you are held responsible for the funds the bank has sent at your direction to other accounts.

Unusual Salary

  • The position indicates a “first-year compensation” that is well above the average compensation for that type of position.
  • The salary range given is very wide (e.g., “employees can earn from $40K to $80K the first year”).
  • The position initially appears to be a traditional job, but on further research, it sounds more like an independent contractor arrangement.

Website, Email Address, and Social Media Red Flags

  • The posting appears to be from a reputable, familiar organization (often a Fortune 500), but the contact’s email address does not match the domain used by legitimate representatives of the organization (typically easy to determine from the organization’s website). Another way to validate is to check open positions on the organization’s website by navigating on your own to their careers/jobs webpage.
  • The contact email address contains the domain @live.com or an @ that is not affiliated with the organization (@gmail, @yahoo, @hotmail, etc.). If this is the case, then verify that the email address matches what is found on the organization’s website.
  • Does the organization’s website have an index that tells you what the site is about, or does it contain information only about the job? Scammers often create basic webpages that seem legitimate at first glance.
  • Watch for anonymity. If it is difficult to find an address, actual contact person, organization name, etc., proceed with caution. Scammers often try to hide.
  • The employer contacts you by phone, but there is no way to call them back (the number is not available).
  • Use social media (e.g., Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, and LinkedIn) to research the employer. Use care to look for red flags on these profiles as well.
  • Research the organization on websites such as Glassdoor.com for feedback and complaints.

Other Red Flags

  • The employer responds to you immediately after you submit your resume. Typically, resumes are reviewed by multiple individuals or not viewed until the posting has closed. Note: This does not apply to an auto-response you may receive when you submit your resume.
  • The interview is conducted online or over the phone and an offer is given almost immediately.
  • The posting includes many spelling and grammatical errors.
  • The posting neglects to mention the responsibilities of the job and instead focuses on the amount of money to be made.
  • Beware of unsolicited emails that are not addressed to you personally. Spammers/scammers can obtain student emails fairly easily. If the unsolicited email references a referral from your career center, contact your career center to verify.
  • When you search the organization name plus the word “scam” (e.g., "Acme Company scam"), the results show several scam reports concerning the organization. Another source for scam reports is Ripoff Report.
  • Google the employer’s phone number, fax number, and/or email address. If it does not appear to be connected to a real business, this is a red flag. You can use the Better Business Bureau, the Business Directory at D&B Hoovers, and Anywho to check.

Fraudulent employers are phishing for the unsuspecting, including you. Be aware of what you share and post online. If you feel uncomfortable or are not sure about certain organizations or individuals claiming to represent an employer, talk to your career center.

If You Are the Victim of a Scam

If you think you may have been the victim of a scam, the United States Federal Trade Commission (FTC) suggests you do the following:

  • Immediately contact the local police department. The police department is responsible for conducting an investigation (regardless of whether the scam artist is local or in another state). If you are a current UC student, you may file a report with the UC Campus Police Department by calling them at 513-556-4900.
  • If it is a situation where you sent money to a fraudulent employer, you should contact your bank and/or credit card company immediately to close the account and dispute the charges.
  • If the incident occurred entirely over the Internet, you should file an incident report with the Computer Crime section of the U.S. Department of Justice or by calling the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) at 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357).