Beware of Job Scams Targeting College Students

Valencia College — and college students around the country — are frequently targeted by fake job offer scams, putting them at financial and legal risk. Many college students are anxious about finding a job, and these scams use tactics meant to trigger those anxieties.

How Do Job Offer Scams Work?

Typically, someone contacts you, usually by email, and invites you to apply for or start a job.

These job offers are often unsolicited, meaning you never applied or interviewed for the job. Other times, you are invited to apply for a job with unusually desirable conditions (short hours, easy work, lots of money, ability to work from home).

After you apply, a short and easy interview process, light on actual job details, may be conducted. These scams can also start with someone offering to help you with your resume or find a placement in a job.

There are many different kinds of scams. Here are two examples:

  • A common scam, according to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), targets college students, who are sent a fake check and asked to handle, transfer, or spend the money for seemingly legitimate purposes like ordering office supplies. Although you may receive a check, that check will typically bounce. Depending on how you are directed to use the money, you could even be charged with a crime like money laundering or credit card fraud.
  • Other times, students will be asked to send money in the form of gift cards or cryptocurrency like Bitcoin: two methods of sending money that are untraceable, and unrecoverable.

How do you know if a Job Offer is a Scam?

Scams are Generic

“Dear student,” one scam email begins, “We got your contact through your school directory…”

Emails that don’t mention specifics like your name or the school you attend are kept general so they can be sent to many people at once. It is highly uncommon for a company to offer a job to a large group of people, especially when those people haven’t applied or interviewed.

Job offer scams might also include generic job descriptions like “organize item orders” or “write detailed reports,” and sometimes include no job description at all.

Scams Are Unsolicited

“You are selected from your school directory to partake in the ongoing Student Empowerment Program PART TIME JOB OFFER…” reads another scam email.

Any student who has applied for jobs knows the market can be competitive. And just as companies don’t typically offer jobs to a large number of people selected at random.

If you receive an offer for a job you didn’t apply for, and they claim to have found you through “your school directory” or “your school job search,” you are most likely the target of a scam.

Scams Are Too Good to be True

One scam email from “Terry White” (no company listed) encourages you to “Work 7 hours weekly and get paid $350.” Not bad for an entry-level position you were chosen randomly for.

Job offer scams entice with unbelievably good pay for very easy work—something that just isn’t that common in the real job market.

Other Warning Signs of Job Scams

Emails from reputable companies rarely contain spelling or grammar errors. Multiple errors in spelling or grammar is a red flag.

Sometimes scammers impersonate professors, advisors, deans, or other members of the Valencia College community to trick students and employees into giving up personal information. This can also take the form of a fake job offer.

As a rule, students are only hired for Valencia College student jobs through official channels, such as an email address, or on the college’s Navigator site or another official website.

To protect yourself from job scams involving someone pretending to be a Valencia College community member, do not respond to any unsolicited email job offers. Contact the department professor directly or verify through an official source, such as Valencia College Internship and Workforce Services Office. The same applies for text messages, even if the sender claims to be someone you know from Valencia College.

What To Do If You’ve Responded to a Job Offer Scam

If you have responded to a job offer scam and have exposed personal information, you should report it.

  • If you receive a suspicious email, avoid responding to such emails, opening any attachments or clicking any of the links they may contain and report the phishing email by forwarding the email message to the Valencia College OIT Service Desk at and then delete the original phishing email message.
  • If you have clicked on any links, opened any attachments and provided your username and/or password, please reset your password immediately by logging into Atlas and clicking the “Change Password” link in the Atlas Tools section under the My Atlas tab.