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Center for Career Development

Avoid Job Scams!

If you're looking for a job, you may see ads for firms that promise results. Many of these firms may be legitimate and helpful, but others may misrepresent their services, promote out-dated or fictitious job offerings, or charge high fees in advance for services that may not lead to a job. Job and internship seekers who use online posting boards and search sites must be careful to avoid fraudulent postings and job/internship scams.

STEP 1Do Your Research

  • Visit the organization's website: Review websites to help verify legitimacy. If the company doesn't have one, it takes you to a different website, or it is poorly developed, consider that a red flag. How professional is it? Is there legitimate contact information? Are jobs/internships and career information posted on the site? 
  • Use Google: Search by organization name to see what information you can find (if a company name isn't provided, consider that a red flag). Take it one step further and search by "[company name] scam" to see if you can find information on reported scams. The following sites may help you to find additional information including any negative reviews:,
  • Review Job/Internship Details: Make sure you receive a complete description of the opportunity including specific responsibilities and required qualifications. If it isn't included in the posting, ask about compensation. If the position is paid, ask about pay range, how often you will be paid, and method of payment. If the company does not pay an hourly rate or salary, carefully investigate the details. If the offer is too good to be true then it probably is.

STEP 2: Follow these TIPS

  • Do not provide bank/credit card/financial information when applying for a job. There should be no request for fees or money associated with a job application.
  • Be skeptical of emails received from employers that contain grammatical errors, promises of high salaries, and minimal details about the actual position or qualifications.
  • Do not agree to have funds directly deposited into your account without verifying the employer first.  Many employers will provide the option for direct deposit (for your paycheck); but this typically occurs within the first week of employment.
  • Do not participate in wiring or transferring funds from a personal account or Paypal/Venmo/CashApp account to another account (even if you are offered a portion for your salary)

STEP 3: Look for Red Flags

  • Unsolicited email(s) or text sent directly to you
  • Email sent using a personal/free service provider (yahoo, Hotmail, Gmail, etc...) instead of a company domain
  • The correspondence is poorly written; containing typos, spelling and grammatical errors
  • The position is described as "work from home and make thousands from your computer"
  • Request for social security number and/or bank information prior to the interview
  • Request to provide a photo ID to "verify identity" before meeting in person
  • Request to conduct business on their behalf (run errands) as they are out of the country
  • The position advertised is different from the position offered

Common Job Scams 

  • Check Cashing- Applicant is sent a check(s), asked to deposit and wire funds (while keeping a portion for their salary). When the bank determines the checks are fake the amount is deducted from the applicant's account.
  • Reshipping-Packages are shipped to the applicant's residence with instructions to reship. Packages contain stolen property, which the police track back to applicant's address.
  • Rebate Processing-Applicant pays upfront for training, certification and/or registration, and then there are no rebates for the applicant to process.
  • Phishing-Applicant is directed to a false website asking for personal or sensitive information, then the company steals the applicant's identity.

Reporting a Job Scam

Steps to Take for Victims of Job Scams
Have you been scammed or almost scammed? Here's what you can do to protect yourself and others...

  • Notify all banks/credit unions and close all accounts at the places where scam-related transactions were conducted
  • Order a credit report from all three credit bureaus every 2-3 months to look for unusual activity on accounts. Place fraud alerts if needed
  • If possible, permanently close the email accounts associated with the fraud/scam. If it is a university-affiliated email, contact IT services
  • File a police report with local law enforcement officials or the local Secret Service field agent (for international payment scams)
  • Report the scam to The Internet Crime Complaint Center:
  • File a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) at 1.800.382.4357 or
  • Report the scam to job sites where the posting was found and/or any companies the scam impersonated
  • Notify the Center for Career Development at 443.885.3110 or