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Fraudulent Job Postings

Career Services offers Hire A Tiger as a resource for employers to connect with Trinity students and alumni seeking internships and jobs. We individually review and approve each employer before they can access the Hire A Tiger system. Suspicious employers are denied access. However, it is impossible to ensure that every employer contact and job posting is legitimate. For this reason, we encourage you to be aware of warning signs that an employer is engaging in fraudulent or predatory practices.

Please contact Career Services and immediately discontinue all communication with any employers who attempt to take your money, instruct you to exchange or transfer funds, or request your private account information. These employers offer jobs that may appear to be easy and convenient ways to make money with very little effort. Always use your own discretion when applying to a position or interacting with a potential employer.

Tips to Avoid a Job Posting Scam

  1. Do not give your personal or private account or credit card information to an employer
  2. Do not agree to have funds or paychecks directly deposited into any accounts by an employer. NOTE: An arrangement for direct deposit or paycheck is something you can coordinate AFTER you secure the job and complete your w-2 forms.
  3. Do not forward, transfer, or send by courier (e.g., FedEx, UPS) any money.
  4. Do not respond to suspicious and/or “too good to be true” unsolicited job emails.
  5. Do not pay a fee to accept an internship or job without first consulting with a professional at Career Services.

How to Identify Potentially Fraudulet Job Postings 

On the Surface...

Considerations

You must provide your credit card, bank account, PayPal, or other personal financial information. Legitimate jobs will not ask for this kind of information on an application, by phone, or email.
The contact information contains a non-business email domain or a personal e-mail address. Sometimes the posting may even appear to be from a reputable, familiar company, but the e-mail address does not match the domain used by employees of the company. Recruiters are directly associated with the company for whom they work. Therefore, the email addresses used should match the company’s domain. The email should always come from an official email address that reflects the organization’s domain or a subsidiary of the organization.
You are asked to forward payments by wire, courier, bank transfer, check, PayPal, etc. Never forward payments – they want to access your bank account and money.
The position requires an initial investment, for instance, having to purchase equipment or products in order to earn a wage or paying for required training. Most employers do not ask for an initial investment, although some network marketing companies may ask you to pay a fee or a deposit to obtain their sample product for demonstration. This is still asking you for money so you can have a job.
The company website is not active, does not exist, or re-routes users to another website unaffiliated with the company. If the listed website is not working, does not exist, or the URL goes to another unassociated website, then the employment opportunity is most likely not real.
The posting includes numerous spelling and grammatical errors. If the employyr cant spel, du u reely wanna werk 4 them? Poor spelling and grammar suggests the job announcement was written by a non-professional and therefore the job is probably not legitimate.
A high salary or wage is listed for a job that requires minimum skills. This is designed to entice you, to get you to apply. Think wisely – how many legitimate companies can afford high wages for low skilled labor? Why would they pay these wages?
The position states you will be working from home, need access to a personal computer, etc. Most formal jobs will have an office as your base. “Working from home” is often a “convenience hook” that takes advantage of people who want an easy job situation. In addition, working from home forces you to use your personal resources. However, working from home could be legitimate so carefully research these opportunities.
You are offered a large payment or reward in exchange for allowing the use of your bank account (often depositing checks or transferring money) or you receive an unexpectedly large check. Legitimate employers do not need to use your bank account. These checks typically bounce – but you are then held responsible for all the bank charges and any money used, wired, or processed.
You are asked to provide a photo of yourself. In the US, most jobs do not require a photo. On some very special applications a photo may need to be attached – but this only happens with profession-specific jobs such as acting, modeling, etc.
The posting neglects to mention what and where the responsibilities of the job actually are and the description focuses on the amount of money to be made. Legitimate employers will often openly and willingly provide a detailed job description of the job responsibilities and duties to see if you are a good fit for the position and will typically state the work location.
The employer responds to you immediately after you submit your application. *Excluding an auto-response you may receive from the employer stating receipt of your application. Employers usually take time to sort through applications to find the best candidates. Fraudulent jobs are looking for personal information, not your skills, which is why they respond immediately. They are hoping an immediate response makes you feel special – a trick used to get you to share personal information.
It is difficult to find an address, actual contact information, a name, the company name, etc. Fraudulent job postings are designed to take you in without you knowing you are being scammed, so scammers will try to keep themselves well-hidden.
The employer contacts you by phone. However, there is no way to call them back. The number is not available or disconnected.

A legitimate business needs to be accessible to clients, business partners, and applicants so general contact information should be available.

The company website is not detailed and only contains information about the job you are interested in. Organizations use their website to attract clients and customers, not just potential employees. Check the URL – is it a real company website? Scammers often create quick, basic webpages that seem legit at first glance.
The employer tells you that they do not have an office in your geographic area and will need you to help them get a new office up and running. Sounds exciting, but these postings often include a request for your banking information, supposedly to help the employer make transactions.
Research (i.e. Google) the employer’s phone number, and/or e-mail address to be sure it is connected to an actual business organization. If information about the company is difficult to find, it is most likely a scam. Consult Career Services with any questions or concerns.

Researching Possible Scams

You can check to see if a company is legitimate through various websites (some listed below).

You can also search the company name with the word “scam” to get a variety of internet hits associated with the company.  Know that some of the links that come up may be just discussion, but there may be actual articles or references.

Protect Your Personal and Private Information 

For job applications, you should not provide your credit card number, bank account number, PayPal account, driver’s license number, or any PIN number over the phone or online.

Many job applications will ask you to provide your Social Security number and date of birth, but this information is not solicited over the phone or email. This information is typically a part of a formal job application that candidates complete in writing, often on the day of their first in-person interview.

Always know with whom you’re sharing personal information – and how it will be used. If someone asks for sensitive personal information, get the person’s name, the company they work for and the phone number. If they hesitate, something’s up!

What to do if You Discover You've Been Scammed

If you have encountered a fraudulent posting, company or organization, please contact Career Services at 210-999-8321 or careerservices [at] trinity.edu so the posting can be investigated and appropriate action can be taken.

You should immediately contact the local police. The police are responsible for conducting an investigation regardless of whether the scam artist is local or in another state.

If you sent money to a fraudulent employer, you should contact your bank and/or credit card company immediately to close the account and dispute the charges.

If the incident occurred completely over the internet, you should file an incident report with The United States Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission.

Interviewing Scams

Follow these safety tips when going on an interview:

  • Always ensure it is in a public place and that someone knows of your plans to interview and the location. Look up a satellite image of the address using Google maps.
  • If your instincts tell you it’s suspicious, it probably is so consider consulting with your career adviser.
  • Do not feel pressured to give personally identifiable information in an application if you are not comfortable during an interview or during online/phone contact.
  • Ask to take the document with you to complete and return so you have time to research the issue further.

To learn more about employment scams, your rights, and appropriate actions, please visit this helpful page from the Riley Guide.

Disclaimer Notice

All materials herein have been made available by companies that are not affiliated with Trinity University and are available for information and noncommercial uses only. Some content may be copyright protected by its respective owners and all rights thereto are reserved by the original owners. Trinity University is offering this information strictly as a public service and can make no guarantee as to the accuracy or suitability for a given purpose.

If you have encountered a fraudulent posting on Hire A Tiger or are ever concerned about the validity of a posting, please contact a member of the Career Services team for assistance.