A publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

BBB Trends: Graduation season in full swing; advice to grads — check the details on that first full-time job

By Sandra Guile
Better Business Bureau

Graduation season is in full swing and many graduates are looking for their first full-time job. Meanwhile, con artists are working on ways to make fake job postings look like credible career choices.


Scammers will post a generic, entry-level job description online to get graduates interested by using the name of a local business and include incredible perks, flexible hours, and excellent pay. Once an applicant submits a resume, the con artist will schedule a Skype or Google Hangout interview; the questions asked during the meeting may seem very professional, and all in all, the job appears to be a perfect fit. It’s when the interview’s over that things get weird.

Sometime afterward, a check arrives in the mail with instructions from the company on how it’s supposed to be spent; often the directions will order the recipient to cash the check and mail any money remaining after expenses back t the business. Sometimes it’s marked for use on a first assignment, for buying supplies or running a background check.

However, if none of this was discussed in the initial interview, it’s more than likely that the check is counterfeit. The scammer is counting on the cash being sent back to them, leaving the recipient responsible for covering the bounced check.

Fortunately, there are a few warning signals new grads can watch out for when searching for a first job.

Number one – if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. An entry-level job that offers an amazing salary, choice benefits, flexible hours, and doesn’t require any extra training should definitely raise a red flag.


Second, if the name of the company doesn’t seem to match up with the work in the job posting, check out an official website before you proceed; it could be a scammer spoofing the company’s name.

Finally, if you check out a business’ website and it seems especially generic – meaning there’s no real description of who they are or what they do – do some additional digging to determine if what they’re offering is the real deal.

Graduation is an exciting time, and it can be fun finding a career that just fits. But if things on the job posting don’t add up, make sure to check out scamtracker.org. You won’t regret it.

Sandra Guile is the Community Outreach Specialist for BBB. She promotes BBB’s message of marketplace ethics through public speaking engagements, presentations, media relations, press releases, web content, and other written materials. Your BBB is located at 1 East 4th Street Suite 600 Cincinnati, Ohio 45202 – to reach the office, call (513) 421-3015. 

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