Fraudulent Jobs & Email Scams

Most people can spot a spam email when they see one, but did you know that scammers also try to trick people out of their money by posting fraudulent jobs on job systems and sending unsolicited emails about a potential job opportunity to unsuspecting students (this is called phishing).


Key things to note about phishing emails:

  • The FROM address on an email can easily be spoofed/faked. Just because an email you receive looks like it came from an “” address or someone you know, does not always mean it actually came from that person.
  • Some people may ask, “How does a scammer get my UMBC email address in the first place?” Your email address is not private information. If someone knows your name, they may be able to look up your UMBC email address in the campus directory. Or if you have your email address attached to social media or other online accounts and those get hacked, or someone you know who knows your email gets hacked, etc. etc. there are many different ways your email address can end up on a scammers target list.

Phishing Red Flags:

  • The FROM address and REPLY-TO address are from different domains. Such as the FROM address being “” and REPLY-TO being “”. Or the from/reply-to address does not match the domain of the company the emailer claims to represent – if they say they are from Amazon but the email domain is “”.
  • Scammers try to impersonate a UMBC faculty or staff member with what sounds like an on-campus job but you are asked to reply by text message or to a non-UMBC email address (like Gmail).
  • Someone offers you a job without you applying for it first.
  • After sending your resume they offer you the job without interviewing you first.
  • The job entails distributing money – whereby they send you a fake check, you deposit the check, keep a set amount, then wire funds to certain “charities.”

Further descriptions of these scams are available from:

Fake Checks
– Federal Trade Commission

Email Survey / Mystery Shopper Scams
Once you wire the money to the thief, it’s gone.
– UMBC DoIT, Aug. 15, 2016

In a fake check scam, the check will bounce 2 – 7 days after you deposit it. Do not wire money to anyone you do not know personally. If you do, your money will be gone.

If you have already fallen victim to this scam and transferred funds to someone, please file a complaint with the FBI Internet Crime Complaint Center. They can be reached at the following web address:

If you have not wired money to the criminals, please just stop communicating with them. There is no need to report anything or do anything.

Beware of Fraudulent Job Postings

The Career Center works very hard to ensure that job postings in Handshake are legitimate positions. However, scammers are becoming more and more creative and may reach out to you directly via email.

Following are some tips to help prevent you from applying for a fraudulent position:

Fraud Posting Red Flags

  • An email that says it is from a UMBC faculty or staff member but either the from address or reply-to address is not an email. Sometimes the from address can be faked to look like an but the message asks you to apply via text message or emailing some other Gmail account.
  • You must provide your credit card, bank account numbers, or other personal financial documentation.
  • The position requires an initial investment, such as a payment by wire service or courier.
  • You are offered a large payment or reward in exchange for allowing the use of your bank account (often for depositing checks or transferring money).
  • You receive an unexpectedly large check (checks are typically slightly less than $500, generally sent or deposited on Fridays).
  • The posting or email includes many spelling and grammatical errors.
  • The position initially appears as a traditional job…upon further research, it sounds more like an independent contractor opportunity.
  • The position indicates a “first year compensation” that is in high excess to the average compensation for that position type.
  • You are asked to provide a photo of yourself.
  • The posting appears to be from a reputable, familiar company yet, the domain in the contact’s email address does not match the domain used by representatives of the company (this is typically easy to determine from the company’s website). Another way to validate is to check the open positions on the company’s website.
  • The position is for any of the following: Envelope Stuffers, Home-based Assembly Jobs, Online Surveys, Mystery Shopper, Charity Distribution.
  • The posting neglects to mention what the responsibilities of the job actually are. Instead, the description focuses on the amount of money to be made.
  • The employer responds to you immediately after you submit your resume. (Typically, resumes sent to a real employer are reviewed by multiple individuals, or not viewed until the posting has closed.) Note: this does not include an auto-response you may receive from the employer acknowledging receipt of your resume – that is normal.
  • The employer contacts you by phone, however there is no way to call them back. The number is not available.
  • The employer tells you that they do not have an office set-up in your area, and will need you to help them get it up and running (these postings often include a request for your banking information, supposedly to help the employer make transactions).

What can you do to determine if a job is fraudulent?

  • Look at the company’s website. Does it have an index that tells you what the site is about; or does it contain information only about the job you are interested in? Scammers often create quick, basic web pages that seem legit at first glance.
  • Watch for anonymity. If it is difficult to find an address, actual contact, company name, etc. – this is cause to proceed with caution. Fraud postings are illegal, so scammers will try to keep themselves well-hidden.
  • Google the employer’s phone number, fax number and/or email address. If it does not appear connected to an actual business organization, this is a red flag. The Better Business Bureau, and Anywho can be used to verify organizations.


UMBC is not responsible for employers’ representations or guarantees with regard to job postings, nor is it responsible for wages, working conditions, safety, or other work-related issues that may arise after placement with an employer. UMBC is not responsible for fraudulent job postings, however if a job listed on Handshake is found to be fraudulent, please report it immediately to or call 410-455-2216 so that it can be removed from Handshake and any other applicants can be notified.