The coronavirus has made people more desperate when it comes to finding a job – and this is especially true for minority college students. Millions of people have applied for unemployment benefits over the year and the situation has only started to get better.

Hundreds of thousands of jobs are being added to the world every week, but the recovery needs to be faster. In this situation, job scams are popping up to take advantage of desperate people. One of the most desperate groups is minority college students.

Minority College Students Receive Emails in College Job Scam

Federal student loan debt continues to climb at alarming speeds. Minority College students are usually anxious in today’s market when it comes to finding a job. Hence, if an email shows up in their inbox telling them they can find gainful employment, it’s almost too good to be true. In this case, sadly, it was.

College students have become the latest targets of job scammers. They’re giving some tips on how you can keep your college students safe. These will also help when you’re avoiding college job scams.

minority college student job scam

While it’s everyone’s dream to get the kind of job that requires little work and gives a fat paycheck, it’s never true. It’s almost always a scam, or a multilevel marketing opportunity; which is worse.

According to the Federal Trade Commission,

“Scammers know that finding a job can be tough. To trick people looking for honest work, scammers advertise where real employers and job placement firms do. They also make upbeat promises about your chances of employment, and virtually all of them ask you to pay them for their services before you get a job. But the promise of a job isn’t the same thing as a job. If you have to pay for the promise, it’s likely a scam.”

Warning Signs of College Job Scams

One of the red flags of these scams is that they proceed extremely quickly. There’s never a formal interview and the student never speaks to the person in charge. There’s a digital wall between the two and things are always done over email.

Then things begin to go strangely. Students are asked for bank account information, social security card information, and they’re sent a check before work starts. Susan Bach has also added that other red flags can show up.

These include mystery shopping scams which are common among students. These are jobs where they’re instructed to receive packages and reship them overseas. They usually contain items which are stolen merchandise or merchandise that has been purchased with stolen credit cards.

At times, the red flag is that they’re supposed to purchase merchandise like gift cards. Perhaps this is to test the payment system or Walmart or Western Union using a counterfeit check which is received.  Students can also be asked to send gift card numbers or read them over the phone in these college job scams.

Unfortunately, the most common victims of these scams are college students. They’re also the people that lose the most money.

How to Recognize College Job Scams

A great piece of advice for them is to not believe anything that comes through your inbox. This doesn’t mean that it’s been approved through your college. It’s also not been sanctioned by your college or filtered through your spam filter.

Random emails should be ignored as a rule. It’s usually a random email that the sender is hoping will send several saps their way for college job scams. Other ways to find out whether the job offer or interview is real, is by doing your research. Usually, companies that want to scam students have bare bones websites and a very hard-to-swallow business model.

The way that they make money doesn’t make sense and isn’t really viable or sustainable. Of course, you don’t have to be a business major to figure this out. You can ask for help from your professors or your other friends in order to figure this out as well.

While this may be daunting, and you may not want to share this opportunity, you should. Even if it is legitimate, there’s no harm in sharing knowledge that should be public anyway. You could potentially be saved from several other college job scams by recognizing just one before it’s too late.

Also look up online reviews. They’re a great way to find out what others are saying about their experience. However, you need to be careful here too. Companies can put up fake reviews in certain places and that can mask their quality. Hence, try to get in touch with the reviewers through a social media account before you believe them.

If you’re ever unsure of any of the job scams that you may come across, you can always check with BBB. That’s the only sure way that you can distinguish between an actual scam and an opportunity.

Types of College Job Scams

The most common types of job scams for college students include:

  • Mystery Shoppe Scams
  • Envelope Stuffing
  • Repackaging and Shipping from Home
  • Issuing Checks/Check Processing
  • Model Agencies/Talent Agencies
  • Pyramid Sales Schemes
  • Scams where students have to pay for certifications

There are scams where you are required by agencies to pay for a test. This is one of the most common college job scams that are targeted towards students. College students may also get emails during their education for pyramid schemes or “multi-level marketing” schemes. These may seem attractive to generate a little pocket money, but they’re a waste of time.

Pyramid schemes usually ask you to sell supplements or “miracle cures”. Both the product that is being sold and your job is a scam. Don’t waste any time with these.