September 14, 2015

International CSU students victimized by online scams

By Shu Yu Lin

All graduates are desperate for jobs, and international students are no exception. Some scams are already starting to target international students throughout the United States. A Taiwanese student at University of Illinois at Urban Champaign experienced this type of scam first hand.

Viola Chen, a senior, received a job offer from Ornament Shop on Aug. 3, which she applied for in April of this year through her school’s job hunting website. She then started working on Aug. 10 and was told that she can make $400 per week while working from home.

“All of our communication was done through E-mail, Yahoo Messenger and text,” Chen said. “I never heard the voice of the person I was supposedly working for.”

Within a couple of weeks, Chen was asked to make various transactions ranging from $150 to $450, and among these was a donation to an orphan in Nigeria. The employer sent a photo of the child to Chen to make her believe that the child and donation were both real. According to the employer, the face of the child was cropped out of the photo because of privacy matters.

On Aug 15, the employer told Chen that he wired her $3,000 and the next day Chen was asked to withdraw $1,000. She successfully withdrew the money. However, the next time she went to withdraw the money, the bank told her that the transaction of $3,000 was denied.

“I lost around $2,000,” Chen said. “It was an expensive experience.”

This experience is not unique to one university; the same problems can also arise at Cleveland State University.

“We have had cases in the past and have taken steps to avoid any of these from entering our system,” Mitzi Vazquez-Long, Interim Director at Cleveland State Career Services, said. “We review every single job posting that is uploaded onto our system and verify their legitimacy prior to making them available to our students.”

Many scams will post positions that seem too good to be true. Students should be aware of the current trending scams and be smart. Do not rush head first into things.

“We advise all students to do their research even if the position is with a reputable well known employer,” Vazquez-Long said. “It only takes a moment to look up the employer’s website or search for the position online.”

The President of the Taiwanese Student Association at Cleveland State University, Mark Wang, agreed with Vazquez-Long.

“In order to not fall in the trap, students have to do their research before jumping on any job offers,” said Wang. “Students need to watch out for each other by spreading the word about these scams and never forward any money from your personal bank account.”

Although Career Services does their best to avoid having the scams enter their network, there is always a risk that something can slip through unseen.

Karen Lieske, Senior Talent Development Manager at Career Services said that students can always let them know if they come across any scams while looking for jobs online.

International students, in this case, should be more careful since they do not have the same cultural background as local students and tend to be more unfamiliar with the current trends that are going on across the U.S.

“If it seems like a really lucrative position and you’re unsure about it, call Career Services and report the position,” Vazquez-Long said. “We can research the employer and position and verify whether or not it is legit.”

The university provides a trustworthy job hunting website operated by the Career Services. It is a good portal for international students to safely look for jobs and if any international student is experiencing any type of job scam, they should notify Career Services immediately.

“We review all job postings prior to publishing on CSU CareerConnection and will report any scams to the appropriate university officials as well as notify other universities throughout the country within our network,” Vazquez-Long said.

To access Cleveland State’s CareerConnection, visit For more information, call Career Services at 216-687-2233.


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