Career Services urges students to use caution to avoid fraudulent job postings

August 28, 2019

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Financial and phishing scams are happening more frequently on job posting sites or via email. These scams impact Penn State students daily, and it's important for students to know how to avoid falling prey to sophisticated scams. 

Career professionals are urging students to look carefully before applying and to be on alert while searching for opportunities. Scammers know what they’re doing. It takes diligence and some effort to spot a scam, but there are certain characteristics that are common.

Unsolicited offers

Offers that come without a formal application are a huge red flag. Penn State will never distribute a student’s information without his or her consent. Employers can only access student information via a vetted opportunity posted in Nittany Lion Careers.

They look legitimate

The opportunity being offered will look legitimate. Often they provide the perfect scenario of working remotely or internationally. Students often see offers from what looks to be another student or Penn State staff member or a well-known organization.

Asking for financial information

Scams will often ask for financial details or offer to provide funds. It’s common to see requests for direct deposit information prior to starting or sending a check to start a home office. These tactics provide banking access for scammers.

Pressure to act

Scams usually place a deadline to act in hopes of encouraging students to make a rash decision. Legitimate companies will be willing to allow reasonable time to make a decision and can offer extensions.

If it seems too good to be true, it most likely is. Students should take a few minutes and do some research to verify the legitimacy of an opportunity. Emails can look like they are coming from a legitimate source. Hover over the address and check for details like misspellings, additional letters or numbers, or unique addresses. 

Take some time to research the supposed organization’s website to verify legitimacy. Check job sites like GlassDoor or to see what employees are saying or search LinkedIn to see if the supposed recruiter has an active profile.

Career professionals at Penn State see thousands of job postings and are aware of fraudulent issues. Career Services, a division of Student Affairs, strongly suggests that students reach out to their career office to ask staff for help vetting an offer. Students, faculty and staff can contact a career office directly with any questions or to report an issue.

Common scams, tips and more information can be found online at

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Last Updated August 28, 2019