TAGS: best practices, legal issues, ethics, principles, privacy
While students are working hard to ensure that they land an ideal opportunity, they must be aware that the perfect job may not be so perfect. Entities and individuals may pose as legitimate employers as part of a scam to elicit personal information or to otherwise defraud their victims. Career centers and students alike must be vigilant in detecting fraudulent employers and should identify steps to verify the legitimacy of an employer.
Important: If you believe you have been a victim of a scam, contact your career center and campus police. If needed, contact your local police as well as any other relevant parties who may help to address your specific situation.
Career centers can minimize fraud through a combination of employer screening and student education. Each office should develop procedures to monitor employer engagement, including processes for flagging and removing suspicious job postings.
Because it may be impossible for career centers to detect all instances of fraud, career centers need to educate students about typical fraudulent practices and should serve as a resource for students who question a particular posting or employer. Career centers can also educate students by adding fraudulent employer alerts and red flags in their job portal announcements, newsletters, and website. Lastly, career centers can create simple methods for students to report suspicious employers, such as providing an online form students can submit through the center’s website.
Here are some examples of guidelines* for verifying the legitimacy of an employer:
Fraudulent employers are phishing for the unsuspecting, including you. Be aware of what you share and post online. If you feel uncomfortable or are not sure about certain organizations or individuals claiming to represent an employer, talk to your career center.
What are some “red flags” students should be aware of to avoid fraudulent employers when using online job and internship sites?
Requests for financial/personal information are red flags. Here are some examples:
An unusual salary is a red flag. Some typical examples include:
Websites and emails can signal a problem. For example:
Other red flags include:
Bottom line: If you have any questions or suspicions, contact your career center or campus police before pursuing any opportunity. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
* Note: The recommendations contained herein do not constitute legal advice and are not an exhaustive list. You are encouraged to speak to your legal counsel to discuss these issues more fully. A career center should also include a disclaimer that states that it does not ensure the viability of any employer and that it does not guarantee that all employers are reviewed. Career centers may also need to consider institution-specific circumstances or policies.
Reviewed and updated by the 2022 Principles for Ethical Professional Practice Committee.
Percent of institutions conducting First-Destination Surveys
Median number of professional staff
Percent of career centers with employer partnership programs
Percent of staff time spent student-facing
2021-22 Career Services Benchmarks Survey