Being A Savvy Searcher: Tips for Avoiding Job Scams

As the economy changes, we at the CCD have seen an uptick in students receiving fraudulent employment offers. Some of them even appear to originate from our office. To help keep you safe while job searching, we interviewed our Employer Engagement team about recognizing and avoiding job scams.

Remember, the CCD will only ever contact students with available job opportunities in one of two ways: either we will send a link to an available opportunity in Handshake or we will alert you to openings at our featured employer in the CCD Corner newsletter. If you receive an email that appears to originate from the CCD directing you to an employment opportunity that is not in Handshake, it is fraudulent. Please forward it to bucareer@bu.edu and abuse@bu.edu, which will alert BU IS&T to the scam.

The conversation below is lightly edited for clarity.

CCD: What are the types of fraud that students are most likely to encounter during a job or internship search?

EE: Some of the common types of job scams are:

  • You are asked to give your credit card or bank account numbers or copies of personal documents, but you get nothing in writing.
  • You are asked to send a payment by wire service or courier.
  • You are offered a large payment or reward in exchange for the use of your bank account, often for depositing checks or transferring money.
  • You receive an unexpectedly large check. This is the biggest and most costly scam.

If you receive a check in the postal mail from an employer, DO NOT cash it or pursue the offer. Please turn everything into the BU Police Department. The check may look real but it is not. You will be responsible for the entire amount of the check, plus any fees incurred by the bank when they process it and discover that the check is fraudulent.

CCD: What are some of the warning signs that students can look out for when evaluating a job or internship listing? 

EE: Here are a few common things students can check if they suspect they have been contacted by a fraudulent organization:

  • An underdeveloped website
  • No careers page & invalid social media pages
  • Negative Glassdoor reviews
  • Email address should  include the domain name (i.e. Sgoodby@boeing.com not Sgoodby@hotmail.com
  • Watch out for sneaky generic email addresses with slight modifications:  humanresources@xyz.com might be legitimate, but humanresources@xyznet.com could be a scam 
  • Make sure the name of the organization on Handshake is the same as the domain name on the web
  • Be wary of employers that encourage students with OPT to apply 
  • Confirm the business address. Look up the location on GoogleEarth or GoogleMaps

CCD: If a student has received a fraudulent job listing, what should they do? 

EE: Students should be vigilant and are urged to help identify scams. If you receive a suspicious email from an employer (even if they say it is from your University Career Services office), please do not respond to the email and contact our office immediately at bucareer@bu.edu.

CCD: How does the CCD work to keep students safe from job search scams?

EE: BU endeavors to vet internship and job postings and employers who request permission to recruit BU students and alumni through Handshake. An employer must meet certain requirements before a posting is approved by either Handshake or the BU career centers. However, neither BU nor Handshake can guarantee that all of the internship and job postings are legitimate. If you have any questions or doubts regarding an internship, please do not hesitate to contact bucareer@bu.edu.

CCD: What are some resources that students can use to research fraud and learn how to job search safely?

EE: The CCD has a webpage, Avoiding Job Scams, that contains info on types of fraud, resources for learning about fraud, and tons of handy tips for what to do if you think you’ve been contacted by a fraudulent organization.

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