At Career & Professional Development, we strive to ensure the employers who post to our job search sites are legitimate recruiters looking for our students. Unfortunately, scammers are becoming more prolific and effective at finding ways to mask their fraudulent intentions, and it is important that you know how to spot these postings and avoid getting tricked.
- Was the job emailed to you? Career & Professional Development distributes jobs through a handful of legitimate email addresses including ones like firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com. If the email address didn't come from an @gonzaga.edu account or the csm.symplicity address, it may be a scam. Be careful of addresses that look similar at first glance (like firstname.lastname@example.org) but are really clever masks for a fake account. Also be aware if it came from a member of the Gonzaga community you wouldn't expect such as a professor or fellow student. Hacked emails are one of a scammer's favorite tricks.
- Did the email ask for you to respond to a different address? Especially when an email address has been hacked, scammers will ask you to send a resume or respond to a different address. This ensures that when a hacked email is recovered, the scammer still has access to communicate with you through the different address. Be skeptical of any email that does not ask you to directly respond.
- Does the contact info match? As mentioned above, scammers can hide their real identities by assuming legitimate ones. They can do this by hacking the email of an entity you would recognize, like a fellow GU member's email address, and sending an invite with the email address. They can also pose as a legitimate employer by stealing their name or slightly modifying it in ways you might not notice. Make sure the email address, name, business name, physical address, phone number and any other data given match with the official employer's account.
- Did they ask for financial or identifying information? Most legitimate employers do not need your social security number or banking information until after you have been hired. If asked for your banking, credit card, or PayPal information, treat that request with extreme caution.
- Did they ask you to purchase gift cards, send a money transfer, or check? No legitimate employer will ever ask for you to spend money before beginning a job.
- Did they send you a check? Some scammers will send you a check by way of "covering" the expense of the gift cards and then some. Do not deposit these, and contact Career & Professional Development if you are concerned about the legitimacy of a check sent by your employer.
- Too good to be true? If the pay seems high, work hours low, and the position works remotely, it may sound ideal. Be careful, though, if something seems too perfect. Scammers include all the features they think will be most attractive to lure you in.
- Act fast? Another way scammers will push you to ignore the warning signs is to make it seem like there is high competition, few positions, or a limited amount of time to apply. Slow down, and critically evaluate if the position and employer is legitimate before moving forward.
How to Prevent Being Scammed
The best way to protect yourself from being the victim of a scam, is to be intentional and thorough in your job search. If you see a posting that appeals to you, research the employer organization- check their website, their reviews on GlassDoor, and their profile in ZagsIgnite. Their contact and location information should be consistent, clear, and verifiable. You can also check business authorities like the Better Business Bureau, the state Attorney General's Office, and the local consumer protection agency for any complaints against the organization.
Particularly for emailed postings, inspect the email thoroughly. Check that the email address is legitimate, and from an official organization- not from Gmail, Yahoo, Hotmail, etc. If the email address appears legitimate, make sure there are no spelling errors or extra characters to make it seem that way. If the sender is unexpected- such as a faculty member you don't have a class with or a student you haven't spoken with before- be cautious. They may have had their email address hacked. Check the message for spelling and grammar errors, as well as awkward sentence structure.
If there is no clear flag, but you still feel unsure, trust your gut and reach out to Career & Professional Development to help.
What To Do If You've Been Scammed
Anyone can be the victim of a scam attack, and if you have found yourself in this position, there are a few steps you need to take to minimize the damage as quickly as possible.
- PROTECT YOUR FINANCES - If you have provided any financial information, contact your financial institution to immediately stop activity on your account and let them know your information has been compromised.
- REPORT THE SCAM - Report the issue to Career & Professional Development and, if applicable, forward the email to Tech Support at email@example.com.
- END CONTACT - Do not continue communicating with the scammer in any way. Block email addresses and phone numbers related to the posting.
Job Posting and Organization Verification Disclaimer
Career & Professional Development and related offices exert all reasonable effort to check the legitimacy of employers and validity of posted jobs and internships. However, due to the volume of job postings received, CPD is unable to fully research the legitimacy and validity of each organization or person that posts a job vacancy or to guarantee that all jobs are still available.
Career & Professional Development and related offices make no guarantee about positions listed and are not responsible for safety, wages, working conditions, or other aspects of employment. It is the responsibility of each individual job seeker to research the integrity of the organization(s) to which they are applying and verify the specific information pertaining to the job posting. Job seekers should exercise due diligence and use common sense and caution when applying or accepting any position.
For your privacy and protection when applying to a job online, it is advisable that you do not give your social security number to a prospective employer, provide credit card or bank account information, or perform any sort of monetary transaction.
All concerns and issues related to job or internship opportunities on Gonzaga University posting boards should be addressed promptly via email.