Fake job offers are on the rise – Spotting Fraudulent Employers

Protect Yourself from Scams

In the last few weeks, we’ve heard from several students who have received emails from fraudulent or fake employers.  Fortunately, none of them fell for the scam!

An employer that seems “fraudulent” or illegitimate should be taken very seriously. Fraudulent employer scams are often “phishing,”a crime related to identity theft.

How to spot a phishing scam:

  • The sender is suspicious.  The domain is often generic, like gmail or yahoo, and doesn’t match the employer they are claiming to be.
  • The compensation does not match the work requested.  Usually, phishers will offer you large sums of money for very little work.  Examples include being paid before you do the work or offers of payment for work that far exceed salary or hourly averages.
  • The correspondence requires “urgent” action.
  • The job description is vague.  Errors in spelling and grammar are common throughout the correspondence.
  • The sender is asking you for money.

How you can protect yourself from a scam:

  • Don’t apply to a job that unexpectedly lands in your inbox, without doing your research.
  • Look up the sender’s email address and try to find them on LinkedIn.  If you can’t find information on the sender, ignore or report it.
  • Do not click on hyperlinks or open attachments from a suspicious email to protect yourself from unintended data transfers.
  • Never give out personal information.  A legitimate employer will not ask you to email a social security number, bank account details, credit card numbers, driver’s license numbers, or passwords, for example.
  • Search for Scams with the Better Business Bureau, a trusted protection agency.
  • There are many immediate actions you can take to safeguard yourself if you were scammed, including contacting your bank and notifying the government.
  • Report a suspicious email to SBS Careers and watch your email for alerts from us.

Common Fraud Example:

“Dear Student,

I’m happy to inform you that our reputable company CISCO systems(r), is currently running a student empowerment programme. This program is completely school oriented as it has been designed not to deter you from all school and other activities which are prior to you and this organization.  You are selected from your school database to partake in the ongoing program. This Offer is a PART TIME position accompanied with an attractive weekly wage among all others and reasonable working hours per week.


Best Regards,

HR Recruit Manager/Consultant
CISCO systems(r).”

Another Common Fraud Example:

From: The University of Massachusetts <aheadproject92@fastmail.com>
Date: Fri, Feb 19, 2021
Subject: Re: Part-Time Intern!
To: <aheadproject733@outlook.com>

Do YOU like the idea of Top-notch and remote internship job? Flexibility for school? Team support and mentorship? Compensation to match your ambition and daily interactions with your peers? OUR INTERNSHIP AND POST-GRADUATE PROGRAM HAS IT ALL!

You are Welcome to The University of Massachusetts!

My name is Dr. Stephan Smith, (or more recently ‘John Marion’)clinical counselor for the Department of Disability Resources and Educational Services (DRES). Our Mission is simple as we are dedicated to educating our clients to help them fulfill their Academic goals. We offer relevant experience, personalized attention, and outstanding resources. Our financial and insurance associates listen intently, recommend thoughtfully, and care genuinely – about you, your academics, and your well being.

Our associates are highly competent professionals, respected for their precise expertise, product knowledge and commitment to professional growth. Our stringent code of ethics places the client’s needs above all others and demands uncompromising integrity in every aspect of our business conduct.

This employment won’t take much of your time at least two hours daily and three times in a week for ($620) and You will be paid in advance for all tasks and purchases to be done on my behalf.

I am currently away, helping the disabled students in Canada and my arrival is scheduled for the First week of March, 2021.
To be considered for this position, kindly reply with this information

Residential Address:
Alternate email (different from school email):
Cell #:


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Bottom line is this: no one is going to pay you a lot of money for doing very little work.  No legit employer needs to have your private email address, or you mailing address, before they hire you.  No legit employer is going to send you an email from a private email address that doesn’t relate to the company they say they work for.  No legit employer is going to ask you to cash or deposit a check for them.  Don’t fall for these scams.  You will lose money.  Sometimes, a lot of money.

If you have questions about whether a job offer is legitimate, check in with your career advisors, and trust your gut.  If it feels off, or sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

Adapted from CICS Careers and the Central Career Hub.
By Carol Sharick
Carol Sharick Director of Career and Professional Development for Undergraduates, College of Social and Behavioral Sciences Carol Sharick