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What to Know about Job Scams and Common Warning Signs

- Released on Aug 19, 2019

If you come across a job that makes you think that it’s too good to be true, there’s a good chance that it probably is. College students are a prime target for job scammers, and should be aware of potential scams floating around in the job market.

All jobs and contacts on the Jobs for Aggies are reviewed and checked for legitimacy by Texas A&M staff prior to being posted on the job board.

The TAMU Student Employment Office makes no particular recommendations regarding employers. We make no representations or guarantees about positions posted by this office. We are not responsible for safety, wages, working conditions, or any other aspect of off-campus employment. Students are urged to perform due diligence in researching employers when applying for or accepting private, off-campus employment. Student Employment staff members are available for consultation on how to research prospective employers.
 
Basic Guidelines to Avoid a Potential Scam
                 NEVER:
  •  Give out personal information like your social security or bank account number over email or phone.
  • Take cashier’s checks or money orders as a form of payment. Fake checks are common and the bank where you cash it will hold you accountable.
  • 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.
  • Wire funds via Western Union, MoneyGram or any other service. Anyone who asks you to wire money is a scammer.
  • Apply for jobs listed by someone far away or in another country.
  • Agree to a background check unless you have met the employer in person.
  • Apply for a job that is emailed to you out of the blue.
                ALWAYS:
  • 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 job listing you want to apply for also on their main career page? Note: work-study jobs may not be advertised on employer websites.
  • Meet face-to-face with a potential employer. An in person interview or informal chat over coffee will help you determine the employer’s intentions.
  • Be sure to choose a public place to meet, 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.
 Two Job Scam Scenario:
 
A student applies for an online data entry job posted by a scammer from out-of-state. When payday comes, the scammer tells the student they will receive a cashier’s check, however, the value of the check will be more than what the student has earned. The scammer offers to “trust” the student and asks that they repay the difference with a wire transfer. The student cashes the cashier’s check and then wires scammer the balance. Even though the bank cashes the check, it is later discovered to be fake and does not clear. The student now owes the bank the full value of the check.
 
Thanks for your mail, I have a personal assistant position for you. As a consultant with a focus of international business, the majority of my clients are out of state and out of the country. I need help with my errands because I am constantly out of the country and mostly out of town. As a matter of fact. I am currently on a business trip to Paris at this time. I will prepay you in advance to run some errand for me and I will pick the item up at your place on my arrival. How soon can you start? I’ll pay $200 for your service for 4-8 hours for just the week job. I will provide a clear set of instructions for each task I need done and sufficient funds to cover all errands. I will be sending money for my errands inclusive of payment for your service through my bank channel. The money will arrive inform of a check. How should your name go on the check? What address should I have it mailed to?
 
Warm Regards
 

Signs to Help You Spot a Fake Check:
  • Bank Information- Make sure that the name of the bank, logo, and watermarks are present on the check. You should also analyze the authenticity of these key components if you are unsure of the legitimacy of the check.
  • Overpayment- Often fake checks are written out with an amount that far exceeds the correct amount with intentions to get the recipient to wire the additional balance back to the scammer.
  • Name & Signature on Check- The name of the employer should already be printed on the check, and not written in. Signed checks should have a consistent signature with lack of digital appearance, erratic gaps, or shaky pen strokes. These are signed that a signature was forged or scanned from a foreign source and printed.
  • Feel & Appearance- Checks that are written by a legitimate business typically have one edge that is rough or perforated. Additionally, checks are generally printed on thick sturdy stock paper, therefore one should examine the thickness and resistance of the paper.
  • Check Number and MICR line- There will always be a check number that appears at the top right hand corner of the check. The MICR line appears at the bottom of the check, and includes a unique bank routing number at the beginning of the number series. To check the validity of the routing number go to the Federal Reserve Bank Services website and search the number of the institution issuing the check.
  • Other Irregularities- Pay attention to areas where information may have been modified or erased, for this can be a red flag for fraud. Also, compare the number amount on the check to the spelled out amount to verify the validity. Lastly, check for spelling and typing errors in the various printed areas of the check.
View How to Spot a Fake Check

Top Job Scam Warning Signs: 
  1. They contacted you with a job opportunity that is too good to be true.
  2. The job description/requirements are vague.
  3. Email is written poorly or unprofessionally, and does not include contact information for the employer.
  4. Research on the organization does not add up, and raises concerns about the validity of the company.
  5. You are asked to provide confidential information before employment such as credit reporting, bank information, and social security number.
  6. They want you to pay for something, and insist that you will be reimbursed when it is received.
  7. You are hired on-the-spot without an interview or other means of formal communication.
  8. They take pride in elaborating that you will be able to work from home and/or make your own schedule
  9. There are instructions provided for setting up an account which includes confidential information, and ensures that will be sent to the hiring manager for review.
  10. The pay is great considering the amount of time and work that is being offered.
View Top Job Scam Warning Signs

Reporting Fraud & Scam
If you believe you have fallen victim to a job scam or have serious concerns or needing additional help please, contact the TAMU Student Employment office at (979) 845-0686 or jobsforaggies@tamu.edu. What is important is being aware of scammers in the future and providing what information you are able to stop other students from becoming victims. News