College debt is a longstanding and entrenched issue in the United States, with no solution currently able to gain traction. Headlines such as the Biden administration’s student loan forgiveness plan being blocked by the Appeals Court remind students of that grim fact. While politicians in far-off Washington D.C. have conflicting visions for this problem, students at NJIT must face this reality every semester.
NJIT reports that undergraduate tuition fees for the 2022-2023 school year range from $18,000 for in-state students to $35,000 for out-of-state students. Even with financial aid, scholarships, or other measures, paying this off over the years is often difficult. However, many students go into schooling without all of these interest-free measures, instead having to take out student loans.
Overlapping financial, academic, and personal stresses can be mentally draining during college, and lead to several students searching for a source of income. What better method to prey upon these desperate people than job scams?
Offering a nonexistent job position seems like a trivial endeavor; however, the tech-savvy criminals of the modern world see it as a lucrative way to steal from students. Through emails posing as job opportunities in need of cataloging their “new employees,” false employers ask for personal details such as a student’s personal email address or phone number. Through this information, passwords, accounts, and data can all be extracted. Once taken, there is almost no predicting where it will head next.
Some scammers sell this information to whomever wants it, and some will hold it ransom until the affected party is forced to pay to get it back. Dangers like these are not unique to job scams, but they are one of the most insidious ways in which fraudulent employers attempt to take advantage of college students.
How exactly can students discern a legitimate job offer from the emails and texts that constitute a job scam? On Sept. 23, NJIT’s Career Development Services released an email that discussed how to identify these scammers. Their method for rooting out scams include looking for red flags such as:
- The offer mentions a job you did not apply for
- The offer asks for personal information, such as a student’s phone number, name, address, email accounts, etc.
- The offer requests that the student wire money or pay for training
- The offer guarantees a job position in exchange for filling out a form
While these signs are useful to look out for, there are also more proactive means that can root out a scammer; for example, one method is to search for the name of the supposed person offering this position online. If their name does not show up specifically connected to their purported organization, be wary. Claims like, “The job is remote and has been designed not to prevent you from any school activities,” should also be regarded as suspect.
No matter what employment a student here at NJIT will take, that employment will affect their school activities by its very nature. Finally, students are advised to observe inconsistencies within the offer’s pitch. “New Jersey’s Science & Technology University” is not actually the name of NJIT, yet it is often used in scam emails. A credible employer would know this before sending a job offer.
The current situation our student body faces regarding finances is difficult, and many students do not have the means to pay off their student loans without taking out large sums of debt. Despite this stress, however, the student body can empower themselves by not falling victim to criminals.