Red Flags for Fraudulent Job Postings

Unfortunately, not every job posting is legitimate. Some internship and job offers are instead a method to get personal information for use in identity theft and or money from you. It is vitally important that you know how to distinguish legitimate internship and job postings from scams.

Here are some few red flags to look for:

  • You must provide your credit card, bank account numbers, or other personal financial documentation.
  • The posting appears to be from a reputable, familiar company (often a Fortune 500). Yet, the domain in the contact's email address does not match the domain used by representatives of the company (this is typically easy to determine from the company's website). Another way to validate is to check the open positions on the company's website. -
  • The contact email address contains the domain @live.com.
  • The position requires an initial investment, such as a payment by wire service or courier.
  • The posting includes many spelling and grammatical errors.
  • The position initially appears as a traditional job...upon further research, it sounds more like an independent contractor opportunity.
  • You 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 receive an unexpectedly large check (checks are typically slightly less than $500, generally sent or deposited on Fridays).
  • You are asked to provide a photo of yourself.
  • The position is for any of the following: Envelope Stuffers, Home-based Assembly Jobs, Online Surveys.
  • The posting neglects to mention what the responsibilities of the job actually are. Instead, the description focuses on the amount of money to be made.
  • The employer responds to you immediately after you submit your resume. Typically, resumes sent to an employer are reviewed by multiple individuals, or not viewed until the posting has closed. Note - this does not include an auto-response you may receive from the employer once you have sent your resume.
  • The position indicates a "first year compensation" that is in high excess to the average compensation for that position type.
  • Look at the company's website. Does it have an index that tells you what the site is about; or does it contain information only about the job you are interested in? Scammers often create quick, basic web pages that seem legit at first glance.
  • Watch for anonymity. If it is difficult to find an address, actual contact, company name, etc. - this is cause to proceed with caution.
  • The salary range listed is very wide (i.e. "employees can earn from $40K - $80K the first year!")
  • When you Google the company name and the word "scam" (i.e. “X” Company Scam), the results show several scam reports concerning this company.
  • 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.
  • The employer contacts you by phone, however, there is no way to call them back. The number is not available. - The employer tells you that they do not have an office set-up in your area, and will need you to help them get it up and running (these postings often include a request for your banking information, supposedly to help the employer make transactions).