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FTC warns college students to watch out for job scams


April 11, 2024

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FTC warns college students to watch out for job scams

Scammers target everyone, including college students seeking part-time employment or virtual jobs with flexible hours, to steal money and personal information.

The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is warning college students to be on the lookout for phony online job listings and guard their personal information against threats, including getting entangled in criminal activity.

“if a new employer mails your first paycheck before you even start working, that’s your cue to stop — it’s a scam,” the FTC warned.

Here are some examples of job scams targeting college students:

  • Ads for personal assistants posted on well-known job platforms or social media websites
  • Unsolicited job proposals that arrive via your college email address that appear to have been sent from faculty members or a particular department at your school

The FTC highlighted a particular scenario in which college students receive checks that must be deposited at their bank.

“If you apply, they’ll mail you a check to deposit at your bank. Then, they’ll ask you to send some of the money to another account,” the FTC explained. “They tell you a convincing story, but the check is fake and the whole thing is a scam. The check will eventually bounce and the bank will want you to repay the money you withdrew. Meanwhile, the scammer will have walked away with the money you sent them.”

How to stay safe:

  • Research every job opportunity. Conduct detective work to find out if the company is legitimate. Look for reviews and search the internet for related scams or incidents. You can also search by “scam” to check for fraudulent activity.
  • Talk to the potential employer at your college. If the job opportunity was sent to you via email from a professor or other faculty member, contact them directly without using the contact information in the message.
  • Ask for details about the job. The more information you have, the easier it is for you to decide whether the position is suitable for you and your schedule. Ask the employer to send you all the necessary details and information about the job, financial compensation, and work hours. If your request is refused, it’s a scam.
  • If the part-time job sounds too good to be true, ignore the listing; it’s fake.
  • Remember, you shouldn’t be paying an employer ever! Any requests to send money, checks, or gift cards mean you are dealing with a scammer. Walk away and report the communication with the police and FTC

Worried the job position you’re interested in is a scam?

Chat with Scamio, our AI-powered scam detector, online or via Facebook Messenger. To receive recommendations and thwart security threats, you only need to describe the details of a potential scam, copy-paste links, or upload screenshots and QR codes.

Know your risks and protect your digital identity.

Suppose you’re receiving unsolicited messages and job scams via your college email addresses. In that case, chances are it has been exposed online and is now in the hands of scammers, making you the target of multiple fraudulent schemes.

To minimize your risks and safeguard your identity, use Bitdefender Digital Identity Protection. Our dedicated identity protection service maps out your digital footprint, allowing you to easily manage personal data and assess personal data exposure and privacy risks by offering a trouble-free way to understand how security breaches can individually affect you.

You can stay on top of data leaks with 24/7 data breach monitoring and real-time alerts for privacy threats to limit any potential risks or reputational harm.




Alina is a history buff passionate about cybersecurity and anything sci-fi, advocating Bitdefender technologies and solutions. She spends most of her time between her two feline friends and traveling.

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