FBI: Student job seekers, instead of getting hired you could be getting swindled

Hard to spot fake ads, but there are red flags

TAMPA, Fla. - The Federal Bureau of Investigations is warning student job-seekers, instead of getting hired, you could be getting swindled.

It’s as easy as looking through your email. These student victims are getting legitimate looking job advertisements sent to their official university email.

Also on their school’s job boards. Students head there first because they think it’s a lot safer. But, as the FBI is warning, these scams are getting very tricky to spot.

“it’s pretty scary," said Brittany Bing, a student at the University of Tampa.

Not only scary but also pretty easy for scammers to catch you off-guard.

“Fraudsters have invested in their craft, so they are creating a solicitation that is believable," said Paul Vitchock, supervisory special agent with the FBI.

The job ad looks very real, at first. Often times involving a work from home position or one that’ll have the job seeker dealing with clients. But the red flag comes after you make contact with the would-be employer.

Like a formula, they’ll write you a check. They'll tell you to keep some of the money as your salary and instruct you to wire the rest of the money to a client or a vendor. Then, the check bounces.

“The fact that you’re going to take the little money we have is just really messed up," said Tommy Colter, a student at UT.

Meaning, the student now owes the bank the full amount of that fake check.

“We’re definitely seeing a tremendous growth in it," said Mark Colvenbach, Director of Office of Career Services at UT.

This past year, the University of Tampa has stopped 30 scam ads on their official HIRE UT job board.

“Very creative and we’re constantly trying to keep up with how these are coming across," said Colvenbach,

They’ve gotten so creative a few of the fake ads got past UT's review process until students reported it. The FBI says never accept a job that requires you to wire any money from your personal account. Also, look out for improper grammar or spelling in these ads since many of the scammers are not native English speakers.

Finally, use your gut. If it feels wrong, it probably is. If you run into any of these scams immediately contact your school and report it to the FBI. 

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