Beware of Employment Scams

Beware of Employment Scams

If a job seems too good to be true, be cautious. There are various employment scams designed to gain access to people’s money, bank account information, social security number, or identity. These scams often are posted on online job boards, in newspapers, or via e-mail.

WSSU Career Development Services Office will block fraudulent employers from posting positions on RAMTRAK once we become aware of them. However, due to the creatively deceptive means by which jobs are posted by scammers, we cannot guarantee the validity of every employer or job posted.

WSSU Career Development Services Office acts as a referral service only and makes no recommendations regarding employers or jobs. We make no representations or guarantees about position vacancies posted on RAMTRAK. WSSU Career Development Services is not responsible for safety, wages, working conditions, or other aspects of employment. Due to the volume of job vacancies received, we are unable to research the integrity of each organization or person who posts a job.

If you are suspicious or concerned about a company or job posting you find on RAMTRAK, please contact the Career Development Services Office at (336) 750-3240, so we can investigate the issue immediately.

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 between $25 -$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.

How Do You Spot a Scam?
Review the information below to identify potential “red flags” for employment scams.

  1. Catchy job titles. Scammers often use words in the job title to catch your attention, such as “Work at Home”, “No Experience Necessary”, “Make $1000 a week”, or “Work just one hour a week”.
  2. Required payment. When payment is requested for training materials, starter kit, or other items it could be a scam.
  3. Lack of employer details. If few details about the employer are included in the ad, posting, or e-mail, such as no company name, website, e-mail address, or location, then this may be a scam.
  4. Fake website. If the website is hosted by a free domain, such as Yahoo, it may be a scam. Scammers will use a legitimate company’s website information and post it as a fraudulent site. Research the company name and check to identify when the website was created. If the website was created recently or owned by someone not in the same location as the company, it could be fraudulent.
  5. Unsolicited e-mails. If you receive an unsolicited e-mail and it comes from a free domain e-mail address (e.g.,,, or it could be a scam. If the name of the e-mail signature does not match the name of the e-mail, this may be a scam. Never click on a link in an e-mail from someone you do not know, it could be a virus or other malicious software.
  6. Personal information requests. Requests for personal information via e-mail, such as a copy of your ID, bank account information, or social security number, can be used by identity thieves.
  7. Guaranteed job offered.  Legitimate employers do not promise a job before discussing your skills and experience.
  8. Specific words or phrases. Beware of words in the job description, such as wire transfers, PayPal, eBay, package forwarding, or money transfers, these are indicators of a scam.

Although this list is not all inclusive, the WSSU Career Development Services hopes you use the information and resources provided to keep you, your information, and your money safe. If you are ever concerned about a job posting or think you may have been a victim of an employment scam, do not hesitate to contact the Career Development Services, the WSSU Campus Police, or your local law enforcement agency.

Additional Links
Below is a list of helpful resources for learning more about employment scams or to research possible fraudulent employers.

  1. Federal Trade Commission
    Learn about employment scams or file a complaint.
  2. Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3)
    File a complaint with IC3 or review Internet crime prevention tips.
  3. Better Business Bureau
    Research employers by reviewing reports, complaints, and accreditation status.
  4. RipOff Report
    Discover complaints about companies.
  5. Job Scam Examples - Typical Job Scam Examples
    Review job scam examples and share scam information.


Privacy Rights Clearinghouse

Job Scam Examples - Typical Job Scam Examples

Job-Hunting/Job Scams 

Winston-Salem State University

601 S. Martin Luther King Jr. Drive

Winston-Salem, NC 27110

Phone: (336) 750-2000

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