Identifying and Avoiding Fraudulent Jobs and Scams
It is very important that you educate yourself about potential scams. Fraudulent jobs or scams are typically generic and non-specific in order to garner the greatest possible number of applicants. Jobs for file clerk, personal assistant, envelop stuffer, mail services, mystery shopper, and the like should be approached with caution and read thoroughly. Use your best judgment, research and discretion when applying for jobs.
Career Services posts jobs through PJ Links to assist students with their job search. However, a posting does not constitute an endorsement or recommendation of any employer by the University, or any relationship between the employer and the University. The University makes no express or implied representations, warranties or guarantees about job listings or the accuracy of the information provided by the employer. The University has no control over any links embedded in a job posting and is therefore not responsible for the accuracy, legality or any other aspect of the content of a link(s). The University is not responsible for safety, wages, working conditions, or any other aspect of off-campus employment without limitation.
Whether a student pursues an employment opportunity through PJ Links or any other forum, such student is responsible for performing due diligence in researching employers when applying for or accepting employment and for thoroughly researching the facts and reputation of each organization to which they are applying. For reference, the University has developed tips relating to identifying and avoiding fraudulent jobs and scams, which can be found below. Students should be prudent and use common sense and caution when applying for or accepting any position.
Indicators that a job MAY be fraudulent?
What should I do if I think that I am already involved in a scam?
For more information about fraudulent jobs, visit http://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0243-job-scams.
Common Job Scams to look out for:
A type of fraud and one of the most common types of confidence trick. The scam typically involves promising the victim a significant share of a large sum of money, which the fraudster requires a small up-front payment to obtain. If a victim makes the payment, the fraudster either invents a series of further fees for the victim, or simply disappears.
Nigerian Check Cashing Scam
The Nigerian check cashing scam usually involves transferring funds internationally. The scam artist attempts to reassure the victim by offering apparently legal contracts, forged or false documents bearing company letterhead, false letters of credit, payment schedules and bank drafts. Once the scammer has obtained the victim’s trust, checks, money orders or wire deposits are sent to the victim for “processing.” The victim is asked to cash the check or money order (wire deposits will send the money directly to the victim’s account) and send a percentage of the funds back to its origination. The need for the “middle man” is often explained as being a way around international fees or taxes. Once the funds are sent back to the scammers (usually the victim is told to keep a percentage for themselves, as payment for their services), the victim’s bank or financial institution learns that the check/money order/wire transfer was fraudulent. The funds are then subtracted from the victim’s account and he or she is made liable for the lost money.
Reshipping scams often begin with an employment offer, usually via e-mail. As with the Nigerian scam, these “employers” offer bogus contracts and other documentation to make them appear legitimate. Once the victim’s trust has been obtained, packages are shipped to the victim’s residence with instructions to reship the packages to another address. Once the package has been reshipped, the victim is “guilty” of receiving and shipping stolen property. This often leads to a visit from police, as the return address or shipping receipts lead back to the victim.
Phishing scams are cleverly hidden attempts to get your account information. These e-mails appear legitimate — with professional-looking company logos and information — and often claim that there is an urgent need for you to log into your account and verify personal information. If you receive one of these e-mails, check the destination URL on the provided link before attempting to login or submit any information; the links could actually lead the recipient to a false Web site. The victim may be asked to update their banking information or other sensitive information, which the site owner (aka scammer) will use for any number of illegal purposes.
Federal Trade Commission. Consumer Information-Job Scams.http://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0243-job-scams. 2013. Web. Accessed December 8, 2014.
Career Builder. Too Good to Be True? 6 Common Job Scams.http://www.careerbuilder.com/article/cb-563-job-search-too-good-to-be-true-6-common-job-scams/. 2009. Web. Accessed January 15, 2015.
Wikipedia. 419 Scams. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/419_scams. 2015. Web. Accessed January 15, 2015.
Source: University of Pittsburgh Office of Career Development and Placement Assistance.