It is our goal to provide IU students with the best job and internship opportunities through Handshake, our online job portal. Despite our efforts to properly vet opportunities and ensure legitimacy, an occasional fraudulent job posting ends up on Handshake. Often, the purpose of scam postings is to steal your identity and/or money. It is vitally important that you know how to distinguish legitimate internship and job postings from scams. If ever in doubt, contact your career services office. Additionally, use the following information to best equip yourself while reviewing job and internship postings.
Protect yourself from fraudulent jobs
How to protect yourself from fraudulent jobs
1.Never send money to an employer or deposit a check on their behalf.
2.Do not give out your personal or banking details. If you have provided banking information, contact your bank to stop any related transactions.
3.Always research the job listing, recruiter, and company. Be aware that some fraudulent job listings will impersonate real employers.
4.If in doubt about a job posting, speak to a career coach in your school’s career services office before applying.
Additional ways to protect yourself
- Search online for the name of any company you are applying to with the words “review”, “complaint”, or “scam”. Use Glassdoor to see what you can learn. If you can’t find much about the company, or it has many complaints, consider looking for other opportunities instead.
- Do not include the following on your resume: Social Security Number; Driver’s License Number; Date of Birth
What does a fraudulent job look like?*
Fraudulent jobs can show up in many ways. Sometimes, you might find a fraudulent job posting online. Or, you might directly receive an email about a job offer. If you did not apply for any jobs, this would be your first sign that it is fraudulent. An essential part of identifying a scam is the old saying “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is”.
More ways to stay safeFor more information on red flags to watch out for and tips to avoid fraudulent jobs, check out Handshake's Job Search Safety Guide.
Tricky Methods of Fraudulent Employers
- If they ask you to pay for the job or job application, it’s a scam.
- If you are asked to pay for a “career advancement grant” for certifications or courses, it’s most likely a scam.
- If someone sends you a check for work you didn’t perform, never cash it because it’s a scam.
- Similarly, if you are offered a large amount of money for simple work, it is most likely a scam.
- If you “mistakenly” get a check too soon, then get asked to return the overpayment with gift cards or wire transfers, it’s a scam.
- Legitimate companies interview you before hiring. If someone gives you an on-the-spot job offer without an interview, or an email with an offer you didn’t apply for, it’s a scam.
- If they ask you (and/or offer to pay for you) to forward packages or money to someone you do not know, it’s a scam.
- If they ask for banking information, or ask you to send them a prepaid gift card or wire transfer, it’s a scam.
*Recommendations from an AARP discussion with Colorado Attorney General Phil Wieser.
An example fraudulent job email
From: Real IT Consulting
Sent: Thursday, August 2, 2020 11:46 AM
Subject: ***Part Time Job Offer – REAL IT CONSULTING INC***
We got your contact through your school directory and we’re delighted to extend this offer of employment for the position of “Online Supplier Data Assistant” with REAL IT CONSULTING currently running an empowerment program for hard working and computer oriented students. Please review this summary of terms and conditions for your anticipated employment with us.
Please find below the terms and conditions of your employment, should you accept this offer:
Position: Your Job title will be "Online Supplier Data Assistant". These are an online Part-time position.
Job Duties: You are required to provide a well detailed report and analysis of supplied materials invoice from our un-educated Production Suppliers in an MS Word/Excel Document which will be sent to your mail address. You just need a few hour of your time to do this weekly and you will also be fully orented by your Supervisor.
Payment Compensation: The Company will pay you a starting salary at the rate of $300 per week, payable in accordance with the Company’s standard Check.
You may indicate your agreement with these terms and accept this offer by getting back to us with your resume and the below information:
- Full Name:
- Physical Contact Address (Not P.O Box):
- Zip Code:
- Personal Email:
- Mobile Number (must be able to receive text message):
You will receive an immediate response from your SUPERVISOR as soon as we hear back from you.
What is suspicious about the previous email?
The first line of the message states that you are being offered a job because the employer found your email in the school directory. This is a red flag because you did not apply for the job or have any communication with the employer prior to this job offer.
Only accept a job offer if you have already interviewed with the employer and researched the company.
You’ll notice in this email that they ask for your personal information. This section is deceiving by asking for standard pieces of information (name, city, phone number) you might expect on a job application, and hiding Date of Birth in that list. Your date of birth linked with your full name is personally identifiable information. Protect yourself from identity theft by NOT providing this sensitive personal information in an email to a company when you did not seek out the opportunity.
Likewise, never give banking information to an employer from an unsolicited email. Only provide banking information after you accepted a job offer and are hired from a legitimate company, and only if you are setting up direct deposit for your paycheck. You should not be asked for this information during the hiring process.
A few sentences from this email contain spelling or grammatical errors. For example:
"These are an online Part-time position," and "You just need a few hour of your time to do this weekly and you will also be fully orented by your Supervisor."
A job offer from a genuine employer should be free of spelling and grammar errors.
Much of the phrasing in the email is overly formal to the point of being awkward and feeling unnatural. This is done to create the appearance of legitimacy, but feels odd upon closer inspection.
Additionally, the email refers to the people who work under you as "un-educated," which is unprofessional and would not be found in a legitimate job offer.