Some job scams are easy to spot while others appear legitimate. These guidelines will help you know who to trust. 

Sensitive Information

  • Never give out personal information like your social security or bank account number over email or phone.
  • Don't agree to a background check unless you have met the employer in person.

Money or Suspicious Forms of Payment

  • Don't fall for the fake check scam.
    • Never cash a check that comes with “extra” money. No honest potential employer will ever send you a check to deposit and then tell you to send back part of the money or buy gift cards with it. The check will bounce, and the bank will want you to repay the amount of the fake check.
  • Never take cashier’s checks or money orders as a form of payment.
  • Never wire funds to a potential employer.

Aggressive Recruitment Tactics

  • Pressure to cash a check or money order immediately
  • Using a sad story to gain sympathy
  • Jobs offering a lot of money for very little work 
  • Offers randomly emailed to you or listed by someone in another country 

Do Your Research

  • Search online
    • Look up the name of the company or the person who’s hiring you, plus the words “scam,” “review,” or “complaint.” This could tip you off to possible problems.
  • Ensure the employer has a reputable website 
    • Check if the job listing is on the employer's main career page.
      • Note: work-study jobs may not be advertised on employer websites
  • Meet face-to-face to help determine a potential employer’s intentions.
    • Choose a public meeting spot, bring your cell phone and tell someone where you're going.

Job Scam Scenario

A student applies for an online data entry job posted by a scammer from out of state. When payday rolls around, 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 the scammer the balance. Even though the bank cashes the check, it is later discovered to be a fake and does not clear. The student now owes the bank the full value of the check.

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

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 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.

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. Review our disclaimer for more information.