Avoiding Job Scams

We have seen increasing reports of job scams targeting students. In several cases, these scams have even been targeted specifically at Pomona College students. While Pomona does employ email filtering technology to reduce the number of phish and spam reaching your inbox, your awareness is the best way to avoid becoming a victim of a scam.

Avoiding Job Scams

Red Flags

Emails in your “Junk Email” folder. Something about the email caused Pomona’s email filters to consider it suspect. You should be suspicious, too!

Emails from public email services. Hackers often start their attack with a “burner” email address from Gmail, Yahoo or Outlook. Sometimes, they will even set the display name to impersonate a Pomona staff or faculty member or someone you know.

It’s too good to be true. No real job is going to offer you $500/week for 3 hours of easy, unskilled work.

A sense of urgency. Hackers often pressure you to act quickly so that you don’t think about the fact that something is off.

Evasive maneuvers. To evade detection and being shut down, hackers often:

  • Ask you to respond by text or from your personal Gmail/Yahoo/Outlook account instead of your Pomona email.
  • Put the message or link in an attachment instead of the body of the email.
  • Link to a page that then has a link to another page.
  • Send the first message from one account, set the “reply to” address to another email address, and send further instructions from yet another email account.

Poor grammar and misspellings. Sophisticated hackers may use misspellings that are easily overlooked, such as “Ponoma” instead of “Pomona,” or look similar to real company names, such as “Arnazon” instead of “Amazon.” Messages from less sophisticated hackers may have poor grammar or misspellings that are not typical of real communications from Pomona College or potential employers.

Best Practices

Be alert. Remember that no technology is perfect at stopping the bad guys. After all, this how they make their money!

Be extra careful with money or confidential information. Would you deposit a check or hand your social security card over to a random person on the street? Treat that unsolicited email, text, or phone call like a stranger on the street.