How New College Graduates Can Avoid Increasingly Personalized Job Scams

College Graduates Job ScamsFor many fresh out of college, the drive to land that first professional role is a top priority. Yet, new graduates can be exposed to sophisticated scams that can jeopardize not just their finances but also their identities.

Imagine receiving an email that mentions your former school dean or a professor, claiming they've personally recommended you for a fantastic job opportunity. It feels like the break you've been looking for, your hard work recognized and someone championing you in the professional arena. But there's a catch – the email asks for personal information or banking details as part of the "job application process."

This is not an uncommon scenario. Scammers are innovatively mining details from social networks, university bulletin boards, and other public online forums to craft believable narratives and lure unsuspecting graduates into their traps. Using the familiarity of known names and institutions as a ruse to solicit sensitive information is a sophisticated twist on classic phishing attacks, and it's proving dangerously effective.

Here are some other red flags your new graduates should look out for: 

  1. Unsolicited Job Offers: Be skeptical of job offers that come out of the blue, especially if they do not come from a company's official communication channels
  2. Requests for Personal Information: No legitimate job offer should require banking details or sensitive personal information upfront
  3. High Initial Offers: A lucrative salary package for an entry-level position with little to no interview process can be a tell-tale sign of a scam
  4. Pressure Tactics: Scammers often try to create a sense of urgency so that you'll act quickly without thinking critically about the legitimacy of the job offer
  5. Vague Details: Watch out for job descriptions that are unusually vague or lacking in specific duties and requirements

And here are some recommendations to make sure you're covering your bases:

  1. Verify Sources: Confirm any named individuals actually made the referral. A quick email or phone call to your professor or the alleged referrer can ascertain the truth
  2. Protect Personal Information: Treat your personal details like the valuable commodities they are. Share them only when you're certain of the legitimacy of the request
  3. Research Employers: Before responding to job offers, perform thorough research. Visit company websites, check for verified contact details, and read reviews from reputable sources
  4. Trust Your Intuition: If anything feels off, it likely is. Trust your instincts and don’t be pressured into moving forward with suspicious job offers
  5. Use School Resources: Many universities offer career services that can help you vet potential job offers and provide guidance on the job search process

As exciting as the job search can be for new college graduates, it's important to proceed with an air of caution. In a world where personal data equates to currency, being vigilant and informed is your best defense against falling victim to employment scams. 

Remember, being proactive about your privacy and employing critical thinking can make the difference between starting a promising career and recovering from a scam. New-school security awareness training can teach your users to stay safe from these types of scams when going through a new job search.

KnowBe4 empowers your workforce to make smarter security decisions every day. Over 65,000 organizations worldwide trust the KnowBe4 platform to strengthen their security culture and reduce human risk.

 Wall Street Journal has the full story

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Topics: Phishing

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