Can Your Students Spot Scam Job Postings?

With so many different types of job boards available to students, how can your institution keep your students safe from scams and fraud? When students apply for jobs, they are asked to share their personal data with employers at their request including phone number, home address, and more. Students place their trust in your university and career services team as they discover, connect and eventually apply to postings on your university employment portals. 

In a recent article from The University of Delaware's independent student newspaper, a student explains her experience with a fake job opportunity. 

Jennifer West used Handshake, a job search website that the university recommended. She wanted to investigate on her own to see how easy it would be to be approved to post on the job board site. After creating a parody website called PorkSpork, and adding two fake job openings to her site, which included an email address linked to the site, a phone number, and a company logo, she was ready to give it a try. 

West followed the application process and her request was approved within an hour, having never been contacted by the university or Handshake to verify her identity.  

Jeremy Bauer-Wolf from Inside Higher Ed reached out to the University of Delaware for further investigation.  

“The institution approved her and a ‘social media internship’ ad with a vague description within two hours, West said. She discovered she could request students’ résumés, cover letters and university transcripts, which would reveal to her students’ personal information, including grades. Shocked at the level of information she could access, West nixed the post. (Handshake has come under fire for privacy issues before, with some students unaware they had even shared their information, such as a grade point average.)"

In addition to fraudulent postings, phishing scams are also common. Mississippi State University recently had fraudulent job emails flood student inboxes. The emails subject lines read "MSU Work Study," or "MSSTATE PAID JOB OFFER", targeting first-year students who may be more vulnerable to scams. It is in part up to your university to offer the best safeguards to secure personal data so your students’ chances of being scammed or phished are minimized. 

The job boards universities recommend should be secure and have elaborate processes to avoid scammers.  

It is inevitable that some scam postings will happen. The best thing we can do as technology providers is to ensure our university clients have a process to review scams and have advanced tools that allow them to review employers efficiently.  

With more than 1 million total jobs, internships and co-ops and 30+ million students and alumni in our platform, our team at Symplicity MUST prioritize security and reliability throughout the entire screening process. We go through tremendous lengths to secure our student data and prevent scam postings.  

Employers who use Symplicity are able to easily discover and connect with career-ready students, and the university is able to maintain complete control over which kinds of employers are eligible to post and contact students. Each of our university clients can also configure their student registration form so students are made aware of university policies and caveats before entering our system. A few simple red flags our platform screens for are illegitimate email domains, new websites or websites mocking legitimate companies, contact’s IP location being different from the physical address, job targets not matching job location, and many more.  

Many platforms have employer trust scores—ours is unique in that we only factor information about the employer in our score, while other scores factor in what other schools have done. This is problematic because if the community overly relies on each other’s feedback of employers, schools could inadvertently perpetuate scams onto each other. 

We believe that requiring a legitimate employer to re-register is much more preferable to approving a scammer. 

Schedule a conversation to learn more about how Symplicity’s employer review tools can help point out inconsistencies in employer registrations, keeping your students’ information safe and secure.

Academics, CSM, Higher Ed, Symplicity, Career Services, employability, Student Success

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