Aug 21, 2019

Students wary of scam job opportunities

Matt Weir/The Collegian

As semesters come and go, some things always seem to stay the same — long lines in the bookstore, lack of parking, shortage of classes and, more recently, false job postings.

On campus billboards and all through the free speech area there are numerous job postings advertising student work, often with high pay and the flexibility of working from home.

While not all of these job postings are fake, many of them are, and more often than not they are marketed toward students.

Rita Bocchinfuso-Cohen, director of career services at Fresno State, said that ever since the economy experienced a downturn there has been an increase in job postings that are certainly questionable.

“Students may not have a lot of experience as employees, and many have limited exposure to the work world and the rules and regulations regarding pay and the labor laws that exist out there,” she said. “In some ways students can be easier to lure into questionable positions.”

Sheryl Williamson, 23, said she was looking for a second job when she came across several of the work for students flyers around campus.

“Some of them sounded too good to be true,” she said, “but as a struggling student I still wanted to check them out because some employers aren’t very flexible with student schedules, especially if they already have a job.”

Williamson said that several of the postings asked for start-up fees that would be reimbursed once work was completed.

“I had a bad feeling when some of the companies asked me to pay for materials upfront,” she said. “After doing a little more research online, I found out that some of these companies were fake and had lured people into their scheme all across the country.”

Bocchinfuso-Cohen said the career services department does do some screening on job postings, but because they are a small office it is hard to do thorough screenings on all job postings.

“Sometimes when students are using the career services system they assume that the job has been thoroughly checked out, and that’s not always the case,” she said. “We encourage students to take the same caution as responding to an ad.”

Bocchinfuso-Cohen said that the screening does catch job postings that may not be legitimate.

“There are postings that raise red flags and we certainly look into those,” she said. “We have a list of items that are red flags for us, and those include jobs that are advertised with generic e-mail addresses, jobs that may be commission only, and jobs that ask for a lot of personal information.”

Bocchinfuso-Cohen warned that one of the big red flags is when companies ask for money up front.

“There are positions where they will say we need this deposit or this money up front, and I would be very cautious with that,” she said. “Students need to do research and many want to check with the Better Business Bureau to see if the company had any recent complaints against it.”

Bocchinfuso-Cohen welcomes students to come by career services for more information regarding job postings and tips on what to avoid.

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