Dec 4, 2017 at 12:00am ET By Alyssa Walker

If you’re a student who wants to work while you’re in school, you’re probably looking to make a bit of extra money. How can you tell a legitimate job offer from a scam? For international students studying in a new place with different customs regarding employment, this can be especially tricky.

In Australia, for example, the Fair Work Ombudsman recently focused on Australia’s international student population of nearly 560,000 students. Why? To encourage international students to get help if they feel exploited in their work.

In a September article on, Fair Work Ombudsman Natalie James said, “We know that it can be difficult to understand what is right or wrong at work, or to speak up if you are concerned. This is why we are committed to making it as easy as possible for international students to access the help they need.”

When do you say “no thanks” to that job offer? Here are five red flags:

1. If it looks too good to be true, it probably is.

Want to work from home, 20 hours per week or less, make a great hourly rate, and never have to leave your house? Sound great? It is—and it doesn’t exist.

Jobs that advertise larger-than-life perks like are fake ads, and the people behind them are trying to lure you into a trap. Don’t fall for it.

Here’s another tip-off: if an employer contacts you saying that they found your resume online (and not on an active LinkedIn account or equivalent), they’re lying.

Bottom line? Anything or anyone promising a large paycheck with minimal work and preparation isn’t telling the truth. Don’t waste your time.

2. The description is vague.

Not sure what the job is, exactly? Don’t take it. Scammers try to make their job offers sound believable, but if you can’t figure out what the description means, don’t fall for it.

Requirements like this—must be at least 18 with access to the internet—aren’t real requirements.

A real job description has a list of required education, job duties, and preferred experiences, all specific.

3. You’re asked to wire money.

The company who wants to hire you asks you to wire them money? Run away. Run far away. Quickly.

It doesn’t make sense to share any account information unless it’s for direct deposit—in which they pay you, not the other way around.

What’s really bad about this? If you do wire this fraudulent scam artist money, now they have your account information and can use it to steal your money, or worse—your identity.

Be careful. Never wire money to anyone unless you know who it is and why.

4. The company has no online presence.

Have a great job offer from a company you can’t find on the internet? It doesn’t exist.

If you’ve run a Google search, looked on LinkedIn, or checked the news, the company probably doesn’t exist.

Another thing you can search? The company’s purported name with the keywords “scam” or “fraud” to see if anyone else has reported them on the internet.

A legit company will have an online presence on social media channels and regular postings.

5. You get an offer without an interview.

A reputable company will never offer you a job without an interview first. Ever.

Don’t be swayed by a scammer’s email that says how impressed they were with your resume.

Never accept a job offer through an email if you’ve never had a phone conversation or a face-to-face interview with them.

Your takeaway? Do your homework. Be careful. Trust your instincts. If it feels wrong, it probably is.




Alyssa Walker is a freelance writer, educator, and nonprofit consultant. She lives in the White Mountains of New Hampshire with her family.

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