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Avoiding Fraudulent Job Postings Webster University I Career Planning & Development Center

Common Red Flags

While there are plenty of legitimate opportunities, be aware that fraudulent companies and scams do exist. Trust your instincts. If something seems too good to be true or does not feel right, don’t make a commitment. It is better to be cautious than to fall victim to a scam. Find tips below for identifying common red flags of fraudulent job postings.

Lack of Information

  • You cannot identify a physical location for the organization. There may be no address or only a P.O. Box.
  • There is a lack of available information about the organization. You cannot find reviews or the organization won’t allow you to ask questions of a former/current employee.
  • They avoid answering questions and don’t provide you with requested information for common questions such as about the position responsibilities/expectations.
  • The job posting has a very vague description and is more focused on money you could earn than the actual job responsibilities. It might feature a very large salary range or simply the salary potential e.g. “Earn up to $100 per hour!”.

Inaccurate Information

  • Contact information does not match an organization’s domain. For example, they may be using personal email domains like Gmail, Yahoo, etc. They might use a similar domain as a legitimate company like @websteru.com instead of the real @webster.edu.
  • Scammers often try to use names similar to reputable company or organization names. For instance, a scammer might email a job posting from Webster Career Placement Office that on the surface sounds reasonable. However, that office does not exist and could by checked by viewing the Webster Career Planning & Development website.

Requesting Money or Sensitive Information

  • They ask you to cash or deposit a check or money order for them.
  • You are told to pay a fee under the guise of training fees, uniform, placement services, etc.
  • They ask you to provide bank account or credit card information.
  • Scammers will request sensitive personal information like your social security number or scan of your driver’s license. You may need to share some information if you are offered the position such as for an I-9 form or a background check, but it would not typically be before formally accepting the position.

Negative Information

  • Poor reviews of the company are found through services like Google, Glassdoor, Yelp, etc.
  • Google the company name and “scams” to see if other issues have been reported. There will likely also be news articles about the company as well as if it is an established scam.

Unprofessional Behavior

  • The communication is not up to professional standards. The job posting might have multiple grammatical errors or formatting issues that make it appear unprofessional. They may use informal methods like texting you from a personal phone late at night rather than emailing or calling during business hours. Interviews may be scheduled outside of their place of business like a personal residence or coffee shop.
  • Scammers will exploit a false sense of urgency and will not allow you to take time to consider an offer. Legitimate employers should provide you at least a few days to think before accepting or declining the offer.
  • They offer you a position without speaking to you or based on very limited information from you. Legitimate employers will follow standard application processes even if they are excited about hiring you.
  • They want you to work “under the table” or without appropriate work authorization if you are not a citizen/permanent resident.
  • Consider the source of the job posting. While legitimate job boards like LinkedIn, Glassdoor, or Handshake may have a fraudulent job posting inadvertently approved it is less likely to be a scam than a random mass email promoting a job opportunity (not from a trusted source you subscribed to).

Concerned About a Job Posting?

  • Assess the job posting for the red signs listed above.
  • Research the company. Look for news articles, reviews, and company profiles through sources like Hoover’s (accessible through the library), Glassdoor, prominent news publications, and the Better Business Bureau.
  • If you are uncertain about the legitimacy of a job posting, you can contact your career advisor to discuss concerns. You can also discuss it with other trusted professionals like a mentor or faculty member.
  • Flag or report the job posting to the job board management so it can be assessed and taken down if appropriate.
  • Contact Webster Information Technology if the job posting was sent to your Webster email.
  • For some examples of common job scams, view a video from the Federal Trade Commission.

Webster University Handshake Disclaimer

Webster University Career Planning & Development Center (CPDC) does not guarantee information about positions and/or employers listed on its website or Handshake and is not responsible for the safety, wages, working conditions or other aspects of employment. Students and/or alumni are solely responsible for obtaining or confirming any necessary information concerning an employer. The CPDC abides by the principles set forth by NACE, the National Association of Colleges and Employers. The CPDC website and Handshake portal contain links to other websites as a convenience for its users and is not responsible for the contents of any linked site.

Anyone who discovers misuse or abuse of the CPDC website or Handshake is encouraged to report the matter to 314-968-6982 or careercn@webster.edu.

Privacy:

The CPDC is committed to protecting the privacy of its students, alumni, and employers regarding collection and access of electronic personal information. By using Handshake, you consent to the storage of your resume and profile data on servers provided by Handshake (not on Webster University-provided servers). Handshake only uses data as described in their Privacy Policy and Terms of Service, and in accordance with the agreement they have with Webster University.

Security:

Handshake Security takes careful measures to keep student data safe, helping to lead the industry in continuous employer screening, data encryption, and full student control.

What to Do If You Are a Victim of a Scam

  • Contact your local police to report the scam and learn about recommended next steps.
  • If you provided financial information like your bank account or credit card information, contact those companies to alert them. Depending on the situation, you may need to freeze or close accounts as well as dispute fraudulent charges.
  • Learn about job scams and how to report a complaint to the Federal Trade Commission.
  • Notify the appopriate contacts from where you encountered the job scam so they can remove the posting and take steps to prevent others from encountering the scam.

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