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The IUP Career and Professional Development/Student Employment Program makes every effort to ensure the legitimacy of all off-campus job postings. Be wary of employers asking for a fee to apply/work for their organizations. Also, watch for scams in which employers send checks to potential employees before any work is performed.

Please report any concerns to the Career and Professional Development Center and to University Police. Remember, as the potential hire, it is ultimately your responsibility to protect your financial and employment interests. When in doubt, check it out!

Types of Scams

There are a variety of employment scams. Below you will find four examples of commonly used employment scams

Payment Forward Scam

This scam occurs after you apply for a position or reply to a spam e-mail. The employer will reply with instructions for a “test” before employment. As part of the test, you receive a check in the mail and are asked to deposit the check into your account and send a certain amount via wire transfer to another person. The employer promises that you will keep a percentage.  It is a scam because the check is not valid; and if you deposit the check and transfer the money, you will be responsible for the funds.

Application Fee Scam

With this scam, you are charged a fee, usually between $25 and $100, for a “guaranteed” employment opportunity application. People have used this scam by posing as members of the cruise line industry, the U.S. Postal Service, and other organizations. Always check with the company in which you are applying to learn more about the application process. Employment applications should be free, and there are no “guaranteed” positions.

Phishing Scam

This scam occurs when you receive an unsolicited e-mail from an employer stating they saw your posted resume. The “employer” states your skills match the position for which they are hiring, but they need more information from you. The employer asks for personal information, which they may use to steal your identity. Before providing any information, be sure to research the company and verify the posting. Always be cautious when sharing personal information, such as mailing address, phone number, Social Security number, identification number, or banking information.

Mystery Shopper Scam

There are legitimate mystery shopping companies that hire college students and others to provide feedback on stores, restaurants, and businesses. However, there are scammers posing as mystery shopping companies. This type of scam can occur through an unsolicited e-mail or via a job board posting. The fraudulent company asks you to pay a fee to become an employee. This is a scam because you should not have to pay a company to become an employee. Another variation of this scam occurs when the employer asks you to review a wire transfer company and complete a money transfer. This action then becomes a payment forward scam as described above.

Remember – If a job sounds too good to be true, it's probably a scam!

  • Career and Professional Development Center
  • Pratt Hall, Suite 302
    201 Pratt Drive
    Indiana, PA 15705
  • Phone: 724-357-2235
  • Fax: 724-357-4079
  • Office Hours
  • Monday through Friday
  • 8:00 a.m.– 12:00 p.m. and 1:00–4:30 p.m.