Sarah’s boss requested that she send $1,770 of her own money to a business partner in early October. Sarah did. Her boss provided a money order of $1,870 — $100 for Sarah to keep. Ten days later, Sarah learned that the money was fraudulent.
Sarah, a junior transfer student whose real name will be kept confidential for privacy reasons, was a victim of a job scam from the beginning: a well-described job post on Aggie Job Link (AJL).
Sarah said this made her more sympathetic toward her employer, but the meeting never actually happened. Then Sarah received the money order and instructions to mail off nearly $2,000 from her boss, and learned from her bank that the money was fake.
According to Marcie Kirk Holland, project manager at the UC Davis Internship and Career Center (ICC), less than five frauds were posted in AJL in late September and early October of this year. About 10 students were involved in a similar situation, with one actually sending money to the scammer.
Holland said that the job postings themselves do not appear unusual at first.
“It does mention taking customer/account payments. That is a standard part of many legitimate jobs. Only fraudulent employers would expect this to be accomplished through an employee’s personal bank account,” she said in an email interview.
“They often claim themselves as doing international business and avoid [meeting] you in person or [talking] on the phone,” she said.
Sarah recalled a similar situation as her “boss” never showed up but only contacted her via email, and emails were often delayed, as if they came from other time zones outside of the country.
“I wish there [had] been a disclaimer on the Aggie Job Link because I would assume that everything is legitimate, and your school will protect you and never give you the opportunity [to fall victim to fraud],” Sarah said.
Holland also noted that students should be alert, as no employers should ever ask an intern or employee to write a check for a transaction that relates to their company’s operations. Students are encouraged to only communicate with potential employers through AJL, not through personal email addresses, and to keep in mind that employers do not send large sums of money to people that they do not know well.