Security Awareness: Student Employment Scams

Too Good to Be True? What You Should Know About Note-Selling Jobs and Employment Scams

With some regularity, students receive fraudulent job offers sent to their ISU email accounts. These offers, with promises of flexible hours and great pay, are in most cases exactly as they sound...too good to be true. And in some cases, like an offer to get paid for sharing course notes, what sounds like a viable opportunity is a violation of Indiana State University policy. As a general rule, unsolicited job offers should be highly scrutinized, and the following information should be considered.

Elements to look for that may be evidence of a scam email

Image of scam examples. Do you recognize the sender? Is the Message Vague? Are there spelling or grammer errors?

Specific Examples of Employment Scams


  • The offer will typically say you can work from home without spending any money up front.
  • The scammer will send a check for supplies or other made-up reasons, asking for the surplus money to be sent back to them.
  • The victim cashes the check at the bank and returns the indicated funds. Most banks will initially accept the check as valid.
  • The check will be determined to be fraudulent, a process that may take a couple of weeks.
  • The victim is liable to return the full amount of the check to the bank.


  • The victim will be asked for personal information as part of the application or hiring process. This can include social security numbers for background checks or banking information for direct deposit.
  • This information is harvested by the scammer for identity theft.
  • Also, no legitimate company will ask for an application fee for a job

"Note Taking”

  • The victim is contacted to provide study materials for a specific class.
  • The victim is promised a percentage of the money earned from classmates accessing these materials.
  • This attempts to capitalize on the intellectual property of the University and the effort and integrity of the student population. Most universities have policies forbidding this type of "employment" and students are held accountable for participating. At ISU, this policy is found in the Student Code of Conduct section 2.1.7.

Always be skeptical of any unsolicited job offer that is not advertising a posting on a notable and reputable job website . Send any emails containing questionable offers to




Article ID: 94613
Tue 12/17/19 2:41 PM
Fri 11/3/23 8:20 AM

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