Holidays Mean Job Opportunities and Job Scams


By Stuart Esrock, Ph.D.

The holiday season and the end of the semester are fast approaching.  That means some of you may be looking for part-time holiday employment to help pay for school, while other students will be graduating and looking for their first entry-level job.  So the job market is typically very active at this time of year, but that means that fraudsters are very active at this time of year as well.   

The director of UofL’s University Career Center, Bill Fletcher, said technology has made it easy for criminals to create fraudulent job opportunities. “There has always been scams involving job offers.  But the Internet has made it possible on a much wider scale for this type of fraud to become prevalent and students must be savvy job seekers." 

Fraudsters typically use mass emailing as a tool since it costs virtually nothing, and they can profit by victimizing only a few individuals. The following kinds of emails and offers should raise a red flag for you. 

  • High pay with little work 
  • Requirements to cash checks and wire money to apply 
  • Poor grammar or punctuation 
  • Offers of a job without an interview 
  • “Website” is actually an email address 
  • The office listed does not exist by that name and/or no employer information is listed 
  • No telephone number or physical address are listed 
  • “USA” is included in address which is usually an indication authors are from outside the country and potentially trying to scam you 
  • Claim to have received your name and contact information from a campus office  
  • Sounds too good to be true 

Fraudsters will often impersonate real employers. They can copy information from real websites and/or social media. Students should obtain complete information upfront about the employer including contact, address, phone number, and email address, and then research that information to verify these through other sources on the Internet.  Fletcher said, “If the contact's email address does not match the organization’s web address, that should warrant closer attention. It may not mean they are fraudulent, but you will want to check into it further.  Also, try to find the contact person on LinkedIn or on the organization’s website. If they don’t exist, that should be a red flag."     

Here are some resources to help protect yourself from job scams: 

Students who think they have received a scam email to their student email address should report it to UofL Information Technology Services

And, if you ever feel an opportunity is questionable but you are not sure, contact the University Career Center at ulcareer@louisville and ask!  


Update: 11/24/21 - Check out this new video from CandidCareer on Job Fraud Warning Signs