orange iconOperational Response Level: Restricted ›

Detecting Job Scams

This week, several students contacted our office about an online job opportunity. This job had a professional website, job description, and application process. However, upon further review, we found a few concerning details:

  • The website contained content that was plagiarized from another company’s website.
  • The business did not have a physical office listed that we could verify. (Note that some scams use the name and location of an existing business to make their scheme seem believable.)
  • The website had been recently set up only a few weeks ago.
  • The job involved “processing payments” from home, with the promise that candidates would be “reimbursed for expenses.” This is not a normal business practice.

Often job scams like this will send the candidate a physical cheque or evidence of an electronic funds transfer, with the requirement that they process “payments” using funds from their own bank account. When you deposit a cheque into your account, it appears immediately in your available funds; however, the bank may take 2-3 weeks to determine that it is not a valid cheque. At that time, the bank can freeze your account and retrieve the money. They may also accuse the account owner of fraud.

Scammers often target people at transition points in their lives, and international students may often encounter schemes like this online, by email phone, or (more rarely) in person. Be extra careful and research opportunities carefully before making any commitments or sharing your personal information.

If you have been targeted by a fraudulent job offer, or if you are not sure whether an opportunity is legitimate, please contact your International Student Support Coordinator at, or contact an advisor at Student Employment Services.

For more information about frauds and scams please go to: