Safety Tips for Your Online Job Search

GauchoLink and other online job systems have made it easier for you as job seekers to find positions posted by employers seeking candidates. Unfortunately, the same technology makes it easier for scammers to create fraudulent positions to take advantage of you. While Career Services does not knowingly accept fraudulent postings, false jobs may appear from time to time. It is very important that you, as a job seeker, exercise common sense and caution. You need to read position descriptions carefully and research companies before applying!

Watch the following video created by the Federal Trade Commission and read through the safety tips before you start your search.

Job Scams & Safety Tips

If a position or job offer seems to be too good to be true, if you feel uncomfortable with some of the information requested, or something just doesn't seem right – either back off or proceed with extreme caution. Even if the original position description seems valid, if you receive follow-up e-mails, phone calls or job offers that seem unusual, you need to proceed cautiously.

Beware of Check & Money Order Scams

The underlying premise to this rising scam is based on the victim receiving a counterfeit check or money order, depositing the item in their own bank account, and forwarding a portion of the funds through a wire transfer service (Moneygram or Western Union) to the scammer.

Research Each Company

When applying for any position it is important that you research the company thoroughly before releasing any of your personal information.

  • Review the company’s website
  • Google search the company name followed by the words such as, “fraud,” “scam,” “reviews,” “complaints.”

Here are some red flags:

  • You are hired without ever interviewing or meeting your potential employer.
  • There are multiple misspellings in the job description and in your correspondence with the employer.
  • At the time of hire, the employer tells you they are travelling internationally and needs you to be their assistant or run errands for them. 
  • You are asked to give credit card, bank or PayPal account numbers.
  • You are asked to send a payment by wire service or courier.
  • You are offered a large payment or reward in exchange for allowing the use of your bank account - often for depositing checks or transferring money.
  • You receive an unexpectedly large check.
  • You are asked to transfer money, including via e-Bay, PayPal or Western Union money orders. 
  • You are promised a large salary for very little work or the salary is way out of range for an entry level position, part-time job, or internship.
  • You are asked for personal information such as your Social Security Number before being considered for the position.
  • You are requested to send a photo copy of your ID, i.e., driver's license to "verify identity".
  • You are asked to complete a background check before you can be considered for a position.
  • The posting appears to come from a legitimate company or organization, but the contact's e-mail address doesn't match the company's website domain (i.e., jdoe@gmail.com rather than jdoe@companyname.com).
  • The job posting doesn't mention the responsibilities of the job; rather it focuses on the amount of money you will make.
  • The position initially seems to be a traditional job, but upon further research or contact, is actually an independent contractor or franchise opportunity.
  • The position requires upfront fees .

Some other tips:

  • You may receive a job offer in response to your application to a legitimate-appearing job description that is actually just a marketing e-mail to sell you job search "help."
  • Be wary of postings for Mystery Shoppers, work at home, or virtual Administrative Assistants or Bookkeepers.
  • If the position listing is for an international opportunity, does it include travel expenses? Upfront program fees? Research the company and compare its program/benefits with other similar opportunities.
  • If the ad mentions upfront fees, proceed cautiously.
  • Verify that a URL listed in the ad goes to the internet domain of the company that listed it. For example, if the ad lists one URL such as http://www.hr.ucsb.edu/ but when you click on it, you end up on another URL, it could be a scam.
  • When using other job boards than GauchoLink, read their privacy policies carefully. Also read how easy it is for employers to post jobs by going through the site's employer links.

What to do if you encounter suspicious postings in GauchoLink:

  • Please report your experience to UCSB Career Services at CareerHelp@sa.ucsb.edu or 805-893-4412 and to The Internet Crime Complaint Center.
  • End all communication with the employer, and if personal information was disclosed, monitor your accounts over the next few days, to be on the safe side.
  • Contact the police and report the fraud or scam.
  • If you have sent money to a fraudulent employer, contact your bank or credit card company immediately to close your account and dispute the charges.
  • If the incident occurred entirely over the internet, file an incident report with the FCC at 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357) or at http://www.justice.gov/criminal-ccips.