Avoid Job Scams

How to avoid scams in your job search infographic Finding a job can be tough, especially for a college student with limited time and experience. Even if you are eager to start working, remember to carefully evaluate all job postings, interviews, and offers.

Students should be aware that there are criminals and scam artists who may prey upon your money, physical safety and personal information. MU Career Services wants to help you avoid scams and find meaningful employment.

In fact, many job scams exist outside of HireMizzouTigers employment site. You must be alert to the warning signs of potential cyber-crimes and job posting scams at all times.

Click the graphic to the left to see our infographic highlighting potentials scams and what to do if you spot one.

Fraudulent Postings: Red Flags

The job is TOO good to be TRUE!

Be wary of jobs that pay extremely well for working from home or sites that promise a job position. The position states a “first year compensation” which is in high excess to the average compensation for that position type. A description that says “employees can earn from $40K – $80K the first year!” is usually untrustworthy.

You are asked to send, cash or transfer money.

You should never be asked to send money as payment for training, initial investment, supplies or company “placement” expenses nor should you transfer money from one unknown person to another, even if you are first sent a check. Fraudulent money transfers (bad checks) are a common job scam and you will be held financially responsible by your bank.

Bank account, credit card, social security number or other personal information is requested up front.

Employers will require this information to complete the hiring process; however, NEVER share this information until you are absolutely certain that the opportunity is real. Also, consider removing your physical address from your online resume.

The site advertises “secret” job postings for a fee.

Job postings should be free and available on social media and employer websites; it raises a red flag when websites ask you to pay for viewing the job listing.

Poorly written and/or vague job description that highlights how much money you can make.

Be alert when job descriptions are vague because in reality, an employer would want to hire the right person and spare no effort to write a thorough job description. A fraudulent job description is written in a vague manner and sometimes it neglects to mention job responsibilities but rather describes in detail how much money you can make. The posting may also include many spelling and grammatical errors.

Email address of contact person doesn’t match company domain name.

A small company or start-up may have a generic email (e.g. Gmail, Yahoo) account but most companies should have a company domain. Fraudulent email address may contain the domain @live.com or highly suspicious addresses (e.g., evelin155@gmx.us) that are not .com or .org. Some scammers use the name of a real person in a legitimate company to construct the email, but again, the real recruiter would always use their email address with the company domain.

The company doesn’t have a legitimate website.

When you Google the employer’s phone number, fax number and/or email address, if it does not appear connected to an actual business organization, this is a red flag. You can check to see if a company is legitimate by using these websites:

When you look at the company’s website, check if it has an index that tells you what the site is about or if it contains information only about the job you are interested in. Scammers often create quick, basic web pages that seem legitimate at first glance.

Interviewing in a suspicious or dangerous locale.

Always ensure that you interview at a legitimate place of business or in a public place. You should never interview in someone’s home unless working in a private household (babysitter, lawn mower, etc.). Remote spots and buildings that are unmarked should raise real concern. If your instincts tell you it’s suspicious, it probably is. Someone should always know of your plans to interview and the location.

Other Job Scams.

A lot of job scams take the advantage of people’s desire to “make money fast”, however that is often an illusion. Common job scams include, Envelope Stuffers, Home-based Assembly Jobs, Online Surveys, Mystery Shoppers, Craft Assembly, Email Processing and Multi-level Marketing. Don’t fall the victim of job scams, because they will not help you earn money, in fact, they make you lose money fast!

If you are in doubt, Google and report it!

If you have never heard of a website before, and you are suspicious of it being a scam, Google the URL with the word “scam” next to it and research the company. You can usually find previous victims or complaints related to that scam.


If you have questions or suspect any www.HireMizzouTigers.com job or employer of unethical or criminal behavior, immediately report it to:

Amanda Nell
MU Career Center
(573) 882- 0878

The MU Career Center will take action and investigate the posting and related employer. Remember that your report will effectively protect other students from harm. If you believe you have identified a job scam outside of HireMizzouTigers.com, contact the Better Business Bureau or the Federal Trade Commission.

Victimized by a Scam?

Contact the Columbia Police Department immediately for investigation. If the incident occurred completely online, you should also file a report to the Federal Trade Commission.

If you have already been victimized by a scam, for example, you sent money or released your bank account information to a fraudulent employer, you should contact your bank and/or credit card company immediately to close the account and dispute the charges.

If you are victimized and overwhelmed by a fraud, we encourage you to contact Amanda Nell with the MU Career Center via phone (573-882-0878) or email nella@missouri.edu as soon as possible. You are not the only student who has fallen prey and we will provide assistance to guide you through the process of filing a report and further investigation. Don’t let your embarrassment prevent you from getting help!

Students should also contact Student Accountability & Support to learn learn how to resolve any legal conflicts and consult on financial matters.


While MU Career Services reviews each company profile and job posting on HireMizzouTigers.com, it makes no endorsements, representatations, or guarantees about the positions listed on the website and is not responsible for safety, wages, working conditions, other aspects of employment, or for whether the students/alumni have the requisite training and work experience to qualify for a position.

It is the responsibility of the student/alumnus to obtain all of the necessary information concerning the employer and the position and to take all necessary precautions when interviewing for, or accepting positions with any employer.

Information Sources:
Federal Trade Commission, University of Georgia, Rutgers University, University of Southern California, University of Washington.