A photo illustration portraying a student taking a tab of a part time “online work” poster. These posters can be found around SF State’s campus. (Chris Myers / Golden Gate Xpress) (Chris Myers)
A photo illustration portraying a student taking a tab of a part time “online work” poster. These posters can be found around SF State’s campus. (Chris Myers / Golden Gate Xpress)

Chris Myers

Lack of publicity protocols at SF State opens the door for dangerous scams

Fliers for a fraudulent website designed to take money from students are posted across the campus.

May 5, 2023

Numerous bulletin boards hang in the hallways of SF State’s academic buildings. They are often littered with an assortment of advertisements: campus events, housing offers, clubs, job opportunities and more. Hidden among the clutter, however, is a scam leaving students vulnerable to losing money.

Fliers for studentworksite.com, a website promising flexible work hours and up to $17 an hour, have been advertised in several buildings across campus. Despite these favorable assurances, the website’s actual goal is to take money from students before sending them links to publicly available surveys which pay only a few cents on average.

These fraudulent advertisements have thrived as a result of SF State’s hands-off approach to publicity protocol.

When students visit the website, they are asked to pay a $12 fee via CashApp in order to access the paid surveys. However, by clicking “Login” on the home page and “WorkListing Login” on the next, students can simply click “Cancel” on the password prompt to circumvent the payment. At this point, they will be met with a list of surveys which can be found online without having to pay for access.

While the survey websites claim to pay their users, most surveys are worth only a few cents. Additionally, many people online have complained about not being paid in a timely manner. This is because many of these websites require a minimum amount of completed surveys before any money is sent.

The Better Business Bureau is a nonprofit organization that helps consumers find trustworthy businesses in order to avoid scams. Businesses are assigned a letter grade ranging from A+ to F based on factors such as proper business licensing, unresolved customer complaints and the frequency of complaints received.

Many of the survey websites associated with studentworksite have low BBB ratings: Product Report Card has a C, FusionCash has a D- and InboxDollars has an F.

“It’s a good way to proceed with caution if you decide to do business with a company,” said Alma Galvan, BBB regional communications manager. “The information that’s available to the public is for you to make a better judgment and better decision about who you are going to be engaging with when it comes to … job seeking.”

Multiple users on Sitejabber, a website that allows online businesses and buyers to interact through reviews, called out the studentworksite scam.

“It is a useless site that promises ‘online work’ with no actual work,” Lou P. wrote. “Please report to administration at college/university campuses. They specifically prey on college students.”

SF State’s Time, Place, and Manner committee, which is responsible for establishing publicity protocol, decided against implementing stricter guidelines for what can be posted on campus. According to Assistant Dean of Students Chris Trudell, there were too many factors at play.

“The Time, Place, and Manner committee has considered such a system,” Trudell said via email. “However, there are logistical, staffing and free speech considerations that make it impractical to implement at this time.”

While the university does allow anonymous postings, anything containing defamation, obscenity, terrorist threats, false advertising or the promotion of actual or imminent violence is not permitted. However, there is no system in place to prevent such materials from being posted.

“Students should report any postings that they think violate the Time, Place, and Manner policy to the Dean of Students office for action,” Trudell wrote. “And the Dean of Students and Career Services are both good resources for judging the validity of questionable postings.”

SF State is not seeking to prove (or disprove) the validity of job listings posted across campus. The Career & Leadership Development page of the university’s website states the following: “Any off-campus [job] position is outside of SF State jurisdiction and as such the University assumes no liability or obligation in verifying validity of postings.”

Several CSU schools have strict policies to prevent false advertisements on campus. At Cal State LA and Cal State East Bay, flyers and posters must be submitted to specific departments for approval. Nothing can be posted in any academic building without being approved by a representative. At Cal State Fullerton, every flier posted by an off-campus organization or individual must be stamped by the Student Life and Leadership Office. CSU Chico shares a similar policy.

However, SF State is not the only school dealing with the studentworksite scam; as a matter of fact, it has been happening across the Bay Area for years. In 2017, the student newspaper of Los Medanos College — a school located in Pittsburg — wrote a story about the same advertisements being posted across its campus.

Students who are looking for real, safe job opportunities can check SF State’s Resources & Career Tools for available listings.

“Anything that comes through us, we vet, so it’ll be posted on our career site,” said Sandra Williams, a career counselor for Career & Leadership Development. “We have something called HOT Jobs, and there’s also Handshake. All jobs should be posted and [students] should go through that to verify those sources.” 

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About the Contributors
Photo of Aiden Brady
Aiden Brady, Arts & Entertainment Editor
Aiden Brady (he/him) is the arts & entertainment for Golden Gate Xpress. He is majoring in journalism and minoring in English literature. He was born in San Diego, California and currently lives in San Francisco. During his free time, he enjoys finding new music, attending concerts and watching sports.
Photo of Chris Myers
Chris Myers, Staff Photographer
Chris Myers (he/him) is a photographer for Golden Gate Xpress. He is a photojournalism major with a minor in buisness administration. Currently based out of San Francisco and his current hobbies consists of snowboarding, golf and softball. He is really appreciative of the hundreds of inches of snow that the Sierra Nevada has recieved this Winter.

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