Fraudulent job postings are on the rise — here’s what to know

Sep 29, 2021

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Sometimes, a job or internship opportunity may appear to be from someone claiming to be a recruiter and provide generous pay and benefits, in exchange for personal information. Some may be so generous that they even offer immediate payment with a check.

Sometimes these offers turn out to be fraudulent, with in fact no job opening. Below is more information about how to identify fraudulent job offers and posts, what to do if you receive one, and ways that Northeastern is helping to prevent these within the university community.

Here’s how these scams often work: recruiters give job-seeking victims a check, and when the check is cashed, the scammers use the bank deposit information to steal from their victims.

If encountering a suspicious job posting on Northeastern’s boards or in an email, don’t be afraid to ask for help or a second opinion. Report suspicious offers using the Report Message button in Outlook, or forward it to phishcatcher@northeastern.edu. And if you have a check as a result of a potentially fraudulent job posting, do not cash it. 

The university’s Office of Information Security takes steps to protect students against fake job postings like this, including preventing known scammers from contacting students. 

Students, faculty, and staff can help, too. Here are a few tips to help identify fraudulent job postings:

  • Unsolicited offer
    If an offer is from a company that you’ve neither heard of nor applied to, and isn’t linked to a clearly credible recruiter, it’s probably a scam.
  • Poor punctuation and grammar
    Job postings may not always be perfect, but they should still read as professional documents and outreach. If it reads like it came from a robot without knowledge of correct capitalization or spelling, chances are, it’s a scam.
  • Too good to be true
    Job offer scams often include tempting but unlikely offers like “No experience or interview necessary! Work 4-8 hours weekly and get paid $350.” Look for clear and sensible guidelines on experience, requirements, and benefits. Additionally, most employers won’t request to set up direct deposit, ask for banking information, or offer to begin paying an applicant before being hired or beginning work.
  • No interview necessary
    Request in-person or video interviews for a stronger sense of who is offering the opportunity and look for company email addresses or affiliated phone numbers in meeting outreach. And if in doubt? Check the company’s website and affiliated social media, such as LinkedIn, for more information.

For more information: Better Business Bureau Employment Scams Report and FBI Job Scam Alert

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