Types of Scams
Here are more details about a few specific, and quite common, scams which you as a job seeker should be aware.
Scenario #1: The job scammer sends mass emails to long lists of recipients. The email claims to have seen your resume on the internet, notes that your skills match the requirement for their job, and invites you to complete an online job application. The email may also state that it is in response to the resume you submitted for a job opening. Proceed with caution, and ask yourself the following questions: Is this a cold contact email from a business or person that is not familiar to you? Did you apply for a job with this organization? Did you send a resume to this recruiter? Type the company's website address into your browser, and contact the company via telephone to check it out.
Scenario #2: Phishing scams are cleverly hidden attempts to get your account information. These emails 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 emails, 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 website. The victim may be asked to update their banking information or other sensitive information, which the site owner (the scammer) will use for any number of illegal purposes.
Check Cashing Scams (At home and internationally)
Scenario #1: The job posting and check cashing scam involves the posting of what appears to be a very legitimate job opportunity through a reputable web site like a school's job board, monster.com, careerbuilder.com, and so on. The postings appear to be legitimate job openings but after submitting a resume, the applicant is then asked to send checks or money orders to continue the application process.
In some cases, applicants are ‘hired' and then asked to handle a monetary transaction between the employer and a buyer or supplier as a ‘job task'. Completing the transaction involves the applicant sending money from his or her own checking account. The employer will instruct the applicant to expect a package, usually containing a check that is to be deposited into the applicant's account. The applicant is then instructed to wire transfer the money, minus an ‘administrative fee' as their compensation to the employer.
Students should be aware of these types of scams and should know that no legitimate employer will ask for an applicant to send money or handle a monetary transaction as part of the application process or to use their personal accounts to conduct company business.
Scenario #2: The international check cashing scam 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 letter 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 (the scammer will use wire deposits to 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.
Mystery Shopper Scams
Scenario: Want to earn some money while looking for a full-time job? If so, you might be tempted by an offer to be mystery shopper. It sounds legitimate enough: make a particular purchase in a store or restaurant, and then evaluate your experience. The retailer gets reliable feedback about its service, and you get to keep the product and perhaps a small payment.
You might get a phone call, email, letter, or ad that claims you can make good money as a mystery shopper. These offers sound appealing, but according to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the nation's consumer protection agency, they are likely to be scams.
Some dishonest marketers ask you to pay a fee to get information about a certification program, a directory of mystery shopping companies, or a guarantee of a mystery shopping job. There's not any real need to pay to get into the mystery shopper business. Search the internet for mystery shopping companies that are accepting applications, and know that legitimate companies don't charge an application fee.
Envelope Stuffing Scams
Scenario: These scams usually incorporate a ‘registration fee' which must be paid before work begins. Once this fee has been paid, the ‘employee' is asked to post an ad-often the exact same ad that the ‘employee' responded to-using his or her own contact info. Once the ‘employee' receives a response to their ad, he or she will stuff an envelope with information/instructions on how to get started, and mail it to the new applicant. The victim is ‘paid' based on the number of responses received from the advertisement.
Scenario: Reshipping scams often begin with an employment offer, usually via email. 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 the police, because the return address or shipping receipts lead back to the victim.
If you suspect a position you encounter through DuqCareerLink or another source is fraudulent, please contact us immediately at 412-396-6644 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Duquesne University would like to thank the University of Washington for allowing us to use their information on this page.