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Identifying Scam and Fraudulent Job Postings

Being Cautious in the Job Search

The beginning of the school year is unfortunately a prime time for employment scams targeting college students. Many scams pop up in places like Craigslist, but most recently, these scam artists have been directly emailing students about their fraudulent opportunities. Unfortunately, a few students have been victimized by these scammers, losing hundreds of dollars of their own money. 

Fraudulent job postings try to take your money, personal information, or both. The jobs often appear easy and convenient ways to make money with very little effort on the job applicant’s part.

The following “red flags” are general markers to help you conduct a safer job search and protect your identity. These “red flags” in no way cover all possible instances of fraud or all the red flags. Therefore, please always use your own discretion when applying to a position or interacting with a potential employer. This includes legitimate job posting sources, such as our own Career Opportunities Board. Although we try very hard to keep fraudulent postings off PLU’s Career Opportunities Board, there is always the possibility one might slip through.

We in Career Connections are here to help. Don’t hesitate to contact us with any questions about any employer or job posting!
Core Essentials to Avoiding a Job Posting Scam
  • Do not give your personal bank account, PayPal account, or credit card information to a prospective employer. Legitimate jobs will not ask for this kind of information on an application, by phone or email.
  • Do not agree to have funds or paychecks directly deposited into any accounts by a prospective employer. 
  • Do not forward, transfer or send by courier (i.e. FedEx, UPS), or “wire” any money to any prospective employer, for any employer, using your personal account(s).
  • Do not transfer money to your personal account and retain a portion for payment.
  • Do not respond to suspicious and/or “too good to be true” unsolicited job emails. This includes a high salary or wage for a job that requires minimal skills.
  • In general, applicants do not pay a fee to obtain a job (but there are some rare exceptions – so be careful, and consult with a professional at Career Connections first).
  • Research (i.e. Google) the employer’s phone number, fax number, and/or email address to be sure it is connected to an actual business organization.
If you are ever concerned about the validity of a posting, please contact a member of the Career Connections team for assistance in researching the position.