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Protect yourself from employment scams

As a student seeking experience or a post-grad job, protect yourself from employment scams. These are usually attempts to steal your money and/or your identity.

What to look for and how to avoid employment scams.

Warning signs about the employer / email:

  • Claims they found your resume on a legitimate job search site, along with other warning signs.
  • Business name can't be verified as legitimate on a search.
  • Business name, email address, and web address might be similar to a known business, but have spelling errors.
  • Claims to be a legitimate organization, but advertises unrelated jobs.
  • Claims to be a service organization, or offers scholarships or financial aid, to prey on your sympathies.
  • Email sender does not match the source organization; e.g. email claims to be from Virginia Tech, but doesn't come from
  • Business physical address is in a residence or location that seems suspicious.

Warning signs about the job:

  • Job responsibilities are vague.
  • Grammatical errors in the job description.
  • Employer does not want to meet face-to-face.

Warning signs about the pay / exchange of money:

  • Job is advertised as high paying, with no experience required, work your own hours, and work from home.
  • Employer offers to send a check for you to deposit in your account.

Who is targeted by scams:

How to avoid employment (and other) scams:

  • Don't reply to suspicious emails.
  • Never send money to a potential employer. A legitimate employer will not ask you for any form of payment.
  • Do not accept payment for services you have not provided.
  • In the job search process, never provide personal information like credit card numbers, bank account information, or your driver's license number.
  • Never give personal identifying information by phone or online to anyone unless you are absolutely sure with whom you are communicating.
  • Be suspicious of emails that: lack proper verb usage and grammar; request urgent action; or ask you to reply giving your mobile number.
  • Even with an error-free email, don't click on links in emails if you are not certain of the identity or legitimacy of the sender. If the information seems potentially legitimate, Google the organization to see if you find warnings or legitimate information.
  • Be cautious of communication from personal email addresses that are not associated with the organization the sender claims to represent.
  • Follow advice of Virginia Tech IT Security Office.
  • If you see a posting in Handshake, or receive a message from an employer claiming to have found your resume in Handshake, and you are suspicious, do not hesitate to contact the Virginia Tech Career and Professional Development, employer relations staff.

Report a scam or fraud:

If you believe you are, or might have been, the target of an employment scam, report it. Even if you are not certain, report it. If it turns out the suspicious employer is really legitimate, that organization needs to be aware their actions created suspicion.


From Virginia Tech Police Department:

More Virginia Tech resources:

This and more from the Virginia Tech Police Department: ... remind all community members that scams take many forms but always include seemingly free money or a great deal on the condition that the recipient of the fraudulent check forward some of the money from the check to another party. The victim will cash the check, see that the money has deposited in their account, and gladly forward a small portion of the funds. However, days later the check will bounce, the funds will disappear from the victim’s account, and the victim will still be held responsible by the bank for the funds that the victim transferred.