Avoiding Job Scams
Handshake and other online job systems have made it easier for you as job seekers to find positions posted by employers seeking candidates. Unfortunately, the same technology makes it easier for scammers to create fraudulent positions to take advantage of you. While we try to screen employers and the positions they post to Handshake, it is very important that you as a job seeker exercise common sense and caution. You need to read position descriptions carefully!
If a position or job offer seems to be too good to be true, if you feel uncomfortable with some of the information requested, or something just doesn't seem right—either back off or proceed with extreme caution. Even if the original position description seems valid, if you receive follow-up emails, phone calls, or job offers that seem unusual, you need to proceed cautiously.
Career Center Note
It is imperative that you as a job seeker exercise common sense and caution, both with positions you find posted in Handshake as well as with positions you find on other online resources (jobsites, social media sites, etc.) Please read position descriptions carefully! If a position or job offer seems to be too good to be true, if you feel uncomfortable with some of the information requested, or something just doesn't seem right—walk away or extreme caution. Even if the original position description seems valid, if you receive follow-up emails, phone calls, or job offers that seem unusual, you need to use caution and common sense. Do not ever disclose social security numbers, credit card information or bank account numbers to unknown employers. Contact the Career Development Center (firstname.lastname@example.org, 773-508-7716) or Quinlan Career Services Office (email@example.com, 312-915-7810) with any questions.
Here are some red flags:
- You are asked to give credit card, bank, or PayPal account numbers
- You are asked to send a payment by wire service or courier, or are asked to transfer money, including via e-Bay, PayPal or Western Union money orders
- You receive an unexpectedly large check or are offered a large payment or reward in exchange for allowing the use of your bank account - often for depositing checks or transferring money
- You are asked for personal information such as your Social Security Number, or to send a photo copy of your ID, i.e., driver's license to "verify identity"
- You are asked to complete a background check before you can be considered for a position.
- The posting appears to come from a legitimate company or organization, but the contact's email address doesn't match the company's website domain (i.e., firstname.lastname@example.org rather than email@example.com)
- The job posting doesn't mention the responsibilities of the job; rather it focuses on the amount of money you will make.
- A Google search of the employer name (or name plus the word "scam") returns several scam reports.
- In response to your application to a legitimate-appearing job description, you receive a marketing email to sell you job search "help."
- Be wary of postings for Mystery Shoppers, work at home, or virtual Administrative Assistants or Bookkeepers
- If you are an entry-level candidate with little experience, be wary of an offer with a salary that is above the normal range expected for your experience.
- Multiple misspellings or grammatical errors in the job notice or email communications from the employer may indicate that the position originated overseas.
- If the position listing is for an international opportunity, does it include travel expenses? Upfront program fees? Research the company and compare its program/benefits with other similar opportunities.
- Verify that a URL listed in the ad actually goes to the internet domain of the company that listed it. For example, if the ad lists "www.luc.edu/hr" but when you click on it, goes to "www.lcu.edu", it could sell be a scam.
- When using other job boards than Handshake, read their privacy policies carefully. Also read how easy it is for employers to post jobs by going through the site's employer links.
- The position initially seems to be a traditional job, but upon further research or contact, is actually an independent contractor or franchise opportunity.
- Check ScamChecker to see if the job description is listed as one of their reported scams. A list of Known Job Scam Issues is also available at MSU's Career Services website.
If you encounter suspicious postings in RamblerLink:
- Please report your experience to the Career Development Center at firstname.lastname@example.org or 773.508.7716 and to The Internet Crime Complaint Center
- End all communication with the employer, and if personal information was disclosed, monitor your accounts over the next few days, to be on the safe side.
- Contact the police and report the fraud or scam.
- If you have sent money to a fraud employer, contact your bank or credit card company immediately to close your account and dispute the charges.
- If the incident occurred entirely over the internet, file an incident report with the FCC at 1.877.FTC.HELP (1.877.382.4357) or at www.cybercrime.gov.
Job Search Safety Tips
- Job-Hunting/Job Scams—from the Federal Trade Commission
- Monster.com—A Safe Job Search
- Privacy Rights Clearinghouse—Avoiding Online Job Scams
For additional safety tips at work, visit our Student Employment and Work Study page.