How to Tell If a Job Offer Is Legitimate

The Career Center is committed to helping AU students and alumni understand all facets of the job search process. In light of some recent job scams that have come to our attention, we’ve prepared this post to help you identify fraudulent job offers.

But first, here’s a brief list of scams we are aware of affecting AU students. Please note that scams are originating both from fake organizations and scam artists claiming to represent real organizations.

Advance Auto Parts
ADC Telecommunications, Inc.
Caterpillar, Inc.
Liberty Homes Concepts
Aaron’s, Inc.
Seapoint Ventures
TrustRealty, LLC

Quick guide to determining if a job offer is illegitimate:

Red flags:

  • Sender’s email address is,,,, etc.
    • Legitimate employer messages will usually come from a .com, .gov, or .org email address rather than a personal email address as listed above
  • Non-specific job opportunity
    • Legitimate employer messages will usually reference a specific job title or description
  • Money transfers not tied to any goods or services
    • Legitimate employers, for the most part, won’t send you a check or money order and ask you to deposit the check and send money back to them.

The third and final red flag has been a common thread among recent job scams—the ‘employer’ will send a check, ask you to deposit it and send it back to them. This scam has not proven to be a physical threat in past incidents. However, the financial threat is harmful enough that we at the Career Center want to do our best to educate students about such fraudulent job offers. In order to help you distinguish between legitimate organizations and job opportunities and those that are part of nation-wide scams, click here for strategies that will help you more efficiently detect fraudulent emails and postings.

Should it be the case that you have been in touch with one of these fraudulent ‘employers,’ complied with his/or her request for depositing a check and feel compelled to take further action, please contact DC Metropolitan Police at (202) 698-0888. However, please note that in past incidents, students who have reported these scams to the police have been directed to the Better Business Bureau. You can file a direct complaint with the Better Business Bureau here. Additionally, you may file the complaint and forward any received documents to the Federal Trade Commission.

You can view more tips here. If you are ever unsure about the legitimacy of a job offer, please email us or call us at 202-885-1804.

photo by jepoirrier