Some job scams are easy to spot while others appear legitimate. So how do you know who to trust? 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.
- Never agree to a background check unless you have met the employer in person.
Money or Suspicious Forms of Payment
- Never 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.
- Never cash a check that comes with “extra” money and do not buy gift cards and send bar codes at an employer's request. 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. Anyone who asks you to wire money is a scammer.
Aggressive Recruitment Tactics
- Pressure from employer to cash check or money order immediately, uses rude or pushy language, or is unusually specific about method of payment such as gift cards, crypto, or payment apps. Scammer may use sad story or situation to gain sympathy.
- Never apply for a job that is emailed to you out of the blue.
- Never apply for jobs listed by someone far away or in another country.
Use Good Judgment
- 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.
Job Scam Scenario
Visit the Federal Trade Commission for more examples and signs of job scam.
Recent Scam Alert
The FBI alerted universities of an employment scam that is targeting college students. Stay up-to-date on scam news by signing up for scam alerts.
Reporting Fraud & Scam
If you think a job listing on the CU Boulder Student Job Database is suspicious, let us know! We can remove the job posting and alert our CU Police Department.
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