Avoiding Job Scams

Avoiding Job Scams

If it's too good to be true, follow these steps.

We are seeing an increase in targeted phishing emails inquiring about employment opportunities. Jobs that sound too good to be true should raise a red flag for any college student. Fake job postings abound in unsolicited emails sent to your student account and in online job listing sites. You can start with these basic guidelines to avoid a potential scam.


  • Never give out personal information like your social security or bank account number over email or phone, especially if you are not 100% certain to whom you are providing such information.
  • Never take cashier’s checks or money orders as a form of payment. Fake checks are common and the bank where you cash it may hold you accountable.
  • Never cash a check that comes with “extra” money. Scammers send checks that require you to deposit a check at your bank, withdraw the “extra” money as cash, and then deposit that cash elsewhere. The check will bounce and you will be held accountable.
  • Never wire funds via Western Union, MoneyGram or any other service to an unknown person or entity.
  • Never apply for jobs listed by someone far away or in another country without first vetting the legitimacy of their position.
  • Never agree to a background check unless you have met the employer in person, or at least face-to-face in a virtual environment.
  • Never apply for a job that is emailed to you out of the blue without first doing due diligence to verify its legitimacy.



  • Be skeptical. If a job is offering a lot of money for very little work, it could be a scammer trying to get personal information from you.
  • Research the employer. Do they have a reputable website or professional references? Is the employer properly registered with the Secretary of State where they are headquartered? Is the job listing you want to apply for also on their main career page? Is the business BBB accredited? Note: work-study jobs may not be advertised on employer websites.
  • Meet face-to-face with a potential employer whenever possible. An in-person interview or informal chat over coffee will help you determine the employer’s intentions. Virtual meetings are becoming more mainstream, so ensure you know who is on the other end of the video before providing sensitive data.
  • Be sure to choose a public place to meet when in person, and tell someone where you are going and bring your cell phone, just in case.

Trust your instincts. If a job sounds too good to be true, it is likely a scam.


Job Scam Example

Subject: UCCS Position 

In accordance with the work and study regulations of the Institution, we are pleased to inform you about an available part-time position of a personal Assistant at three hundred and fifty dollars weekly wages. Please contact "( )" for more info. Remember to include your cell number in your inquiry for direct contact.

This is an over-payment scam. These are often unsolicited emails informing students of an “employment opportunity”. These are often posted as a bookkeeper, personal assistant, administrative assistant, etc., to assist in processing checks or mystery/secret shoppers. The “company” sends a check to the “assistant” (student), who is then responsible for taking their “salary” out of the check and wiring the remainder of the money back to the “company.” These checks are fraudulent and can leave you out thousands of dollars and facing criminal charges.


Reporting Fraud & Scams

To report a scam, file a complaint online with the Federal Trade Commission. Check out their video on how to report scam and more ways to avoid fraud.

If you receive an employment offer via email, LinkedIn, or some other means that you think is a scam, report it to the Career Development Center in the College of Business, or the main campus Career Center. Our goal is to provide accurate job listing information on our website; however, we make no representations or guarantees about positions posted by our office. You are responsible for your own safety, wages, and working conditions.

Visit the Federal Trade Commission for more examples and signs of job scam.