$50/hr. to walk a dog?!?! How to spot a fraudulent job.

Photo credit: Prostock-studio

A new job opportunity is waiting in your inbox.  An employer is interested in you and they just need a little more information to get you set up with this great opportunity.  The pay sounds phenomenal so you’re about to give them the info they need before this fantastic opportunity passes you by.  Pause.  Take a few minutes to make sure the job is a valid opportunity and not a phishing email trying to scam you out of your personal information or finances.

Fraudulent Job Red Flags

  1. Unusual Salary/Payment

Job descriptions that focus on earning money quickly and/or that have an excessively high first-year compensation or hourly rate should cause you to pause.

  1. Organization asks for personal/financial information

Credit Card and bank account information, NUID credentials, social security numbers, and driver’s license numbers are not items that should be asked for at the beginning of an application process. Do not give this type of information to employers in the initial application process and never process ANY financial transactions.

  1. Abnormal hiring practice or job set up

Companies should not require an initial investment to get started with their company. This includes your financial input to set up a local office or fund their startup.  Again, any requirement of financial transactions is a red flag.

  1. Organization has a questionable website or application procedures.

Are the steps to apply for the job different than the normal application process?  Have you been directed to a very basic website with limited information around the company’s name, address, or contact information? Are they requesting that you sign in to your True You account? UNL ITS will never ask you for your login, passwords, or other personal information.  Proceed with extreme caution.  Google the company’s name to see if any of the results include spam reports around the organization?

What should you do if you are unsure about the authenticity of a job opportunity or have been involved in a fraudulent job scam?

  • Do your due diligence in researching offers and verifying employers. Any communications regarding possible employers can be verified by students by logging into Handshake and looking for opportunities they hear about.
  • Contact the University Career Services Office or your UNL college’s Career Services Coach to talk about the job in question. They will be able to dig into the posting/email with you and help identify if it is a valid position or if it is fraudulent, as well as talk about the next steps you should take if any personal information has been released. If a fraudulent posting is found on UNL’s Handshake platform, Career Services will take down the posting and help alert other students who may have also been taken advantage of.
  • The Federal Trade Commission’s website lists specific steps you can take if you were scammed.
  • If personal information has been given out, contact the appropriate institutions that may be affected (i.e. UNL Information Technology Services, financial institutions, etc.).


There are thousands of current, valid opportunities available on Handshake and other job posting sites. Taking the previous items into consideration as you review them will help ensure you apply to only valid opportunities.  The Career Service’s community is excited to come alongside students in their career development and can help prepare for your job search with resume review, cover letter assistance, mock interviews, and overall career development coaching.  This is a free service for all current UNL students.  Click here to set up a virtual appointment.


By Amber Pape
Amber Pape Senior Events & Marketing Coordinator