Avoiding Job Scams

Fraudulent Job and Internship Scam Warning and Disclaimer:

It is the responsibility of students to perform due diligence in researching employers when applying for or accepting private, off-campus employment and to thoroughly research the facts and reputation of each organization to which they are applying. Students should be prudent and use common sense and caution when applying for or accepting any position.

Some tips to keep in mind:

  • Do not provide anyone with your social security number, personal checking or banking information. This information is not needed for any step of the job search process.
  • Beware of ads that make outrageous claims, don’t specify job duties and don’t require that you send a resume. Legitimate employers are seeking candidates with specific skills, knowledge and education. Watch for ads, even for entry-level jobs, that use the phrase ‘no experience necessary,’ especially when there is a promise of big money.
  • Never agree to a wire transfer of any kind.
  • Do not give out personal information online or over the phone. Personal information such as height, eye color, ethnicity, etc. does not pertain to the job search. 

    **If you are submitting an acting resume or entertainment industry portfolio, you could be asked to provide basic personal information. If you have questions about what to submit, consult your career coach or faculty member. 

  • Be sure the e-mail address to which you are sending information has the same domain name as the organization. For example, if applying to “Organization X,” the e-mail address should have “@Organization X” somewhere in the address. Be wary of sites/organizations where much of the information is “under construction.”
  • Research the organization to be sure that it is legitimate.
  • Do not cash or deposit a check into your account before doing any work. Job scammers sometimes ask that you deposit a check and forward the $ to a third party. Do not do this!
  • Be especially cautious when dealing with organizations outside of your own country.
  • Always use good judgment in ALL of your interactions with employers. The Career Development Center suggests that students request business references for unknown organizations before interviewing with them off campus.
  • Be cautious when posting your resume online. Research the site to learn if it is legitimate. If you are unsure, limit your contact information on the resume and use generic job titles if yours are unique.

Remember: If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.

If you feel uncomfortable with some of the information requested, or something just doesn't seem right, research the employer to gather more information.

  • Look at the company’s website.  Scammers often create quick, basic web pages that seem legit at first glance.  Check to see if the open position is posted on the company's website.
  • When you Google the company name and the word "scam" (i.e. Acme Company Scam), the results show several scam reports concerning this company. Another source for scam reports is: http://www.ripoffreport.com.
  • Google the employer's phone number, fax number and/or email address. If it does not appear connected to an actual business organization, this is a red flag. Consider using Better Business Bureau (http://www.bbb.org/us/consumers/), Hoovers (http://www.hoovers.com/) and AT&T's Anywho (http://www.anywho.com/) to verify organizations.

If You Have Become A Victim Of A Scam:

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has provided the following instructions for students who have responded to fraudulent postings:

  • The student should immediately contact the local police. The police are responsible for conducting an investigation (regardless of whether the scam artist is local or in another state).
  • If it is a situation where the student has sent money to a fraud employer, the student should contact their bank or credit card company immediately to close the account and dispute the charges.
  • If the incident occurred completely over the Internet, the student should file an incident report with the United States Department of Justice at http://www.cybercrime.gov/, or by calling the FTC at: 1 (877) FTC-HELP or 1 (877)  382-4357.

For more information, please visit the FTC website to view a video on job scams at https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0243-job-scams

You can also read more about fraudulent employers from the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) here