Tips For Safeguarding Yourself From Job Scams After Earning Your Degree

Published on: February 06, 2024

Entering the job market after or even during the completion of your degree can be exciting, but it is also easy to fall victim to scams. Many students are so grateful to find prospective employment that they don’t always exercise the necessary caution to safeguard themselves. Job scams can take many forms, but the goals of scammers are typically to either steal money, gain access to personal information, or exploit workers for free labor. With many job applications and interviews occurring online lately, it is essential to take precautions to avoid scams. 

Watch Out For Jobs That Require Fees

A common tactic scammers use is asking job seekers to pay a fee to complete their application or even get started in the job. In many areas, it is unethical and illegal for employers to charge a fee when applying for a job. If a job listing specifies fees associated with the hiring process, proceed cautiously. 

Watch Out For Impersonators

Some scammers pretend to represent a real company or agency to fool jobseekers. They often contact jobseekers via email and may ask for sensitive information or screening fees. Legitimate companies will not attempt to collect personally identifiable information or demand money to advance the job application. If you are still unsure whether it is a scam or a genuine job offer, contact the employer through official channels to verify the legitimacy of the job and the application process. You should also be wary if the scammers communicate via email addresses not affiliated with the company they claim to represent. 

Don’t Be Afraid To Ask Questions During The Interview

When doing a job interview online, don’t be afraid to ask questions during the interview. Whether it is for a job or internship, scammers often bank on the fact that people will be so grateful for the offer that they won’t ask any questions. Questions like what the turnover rate for the company is, what their management style is like, and how your success will be measured can catch scammers off-guard. Pay attention to things like unprofessional behavior during the interview process, as this is often a red flag. If the pay sounds way too good for an entry-level role, then the chances are also good that it could be a scam. The same goes for promises of only working one or two days a week to earn a high income. 

Be Careful About The Information You Share

When dealing with a potential employer, be very careful about the type of information you share. There is no reason ever to share your personal passwords, and never use your personal bank account to conduct any business transactions on their behalf. This is a common tactic scammers use for money laundering and should be avoided at all costs. Scammers will often try to pressure prospective employees to act quickly to avoid missing out, which is another red flag. 

Watch Out For Pyramid Schemes

Scammers often target job seekers with pyramid schemes and the promise that they can get rich quickly. Your employer should be paying you, not the other way around, so watch out for companies that require you to buy and sell products. Another tactic these types of scammers use is to promise commissions if you can get other people to sign up and pay a registration fee. The adverts for these types of scams often make promises of being able to get rich quickly.  

Research Prospective Employers

It’s not just employers that can conduct background checks on prospective employees. To avoid getting scammed, be sure to research the company and job offer first thoroughly. In addition to checking out their official website, pay attention to their online presence and contact details, as these are more difficult to fake. It is easy to identify some scam job offers as they will feature vague details about the organization or have missing contact information. Often, these job postings will also have glaring grammatical or spelling errors.  

Avoid Using Non-Secure Websites For Job Applications

There are plenty of legitimate websites and services online that can help you with finding a job. However, make sure that you research the ones you want to use to verify that they are secure. If a website does not have proper encryption, you are putting your personal information at risk and can become an easy target for scammers. Caution should also be exercised when applying for jobs using public WiFI, such as at coffee shops, as scammers can intercept the information you fill in. 


The job market can be tough, but never let your eagerness to get a job cloud your judgment. Sometimes, the best thing you can do is to listen to your instincts and not be afraid to turn down offers that set off your alarm bells. As always, do not open links or attachments from senders you do not know. Finally, if you fall victim to a job scam, don’t be too embarrassed to reach out for help and report the fraud to the authorities. If the scammers used a job board, email service, or social media site, you should also report them to these platforms to protect yourself and others.

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