BEWARE: Fraudulent Job Postings, Fake Companies & Scams
Fraudulent job postings try to take your money, personal information, or both. The jobs often appear easy and convenient ways to make money with very little effort.
The Kelley School of Business Undergraduate Career Services office (UCS) maintains job postings as a service to our students and employers. In providing this service, UCS makes no representations or endorsements concerning the opportunities posted or the organizations that post. Prospective applicants are encouraged to independently research the employers and opportunities presented. We do not verify compliance with our nondiscrimination policy. If you are ever concerned about the validity of a posting, please email KelleyUCS@iu.edu for assistance in researching the position.
We strive to keep fraudulent and scam postings off Handshake, but is impossible to ensure that every posting is legitimate, and impossible to keep track of every employer and position after submission. Therefore, we are sharing common things that alarm us in postings, so you too, can attempt to identify such scam and fraudulent job postings. The following “red flags” are general markers to help you conduct a safer job search and protect your identity. They in no way cover all possible instances of fraud or “red flags”. Therefore, always use your own discretion when applying to a position or interacting with a potential employer.
- Do not give your personal bank account, PayPal account, or credit card information to a new employer.
- Do not agree to have funds or paychecks directly deposited into any accounts by a new employer. (Arrangements for direct deposit or paycheck should be made during your first day or week of actual employment on site – not before.)
- Do not forward, transfer or send by courier (i.e. FedEx, UPS), or “wire” any money to any employer, for any employer, using your personal account(s).
- Do not transfer money and retain a portion for payment.
- Do not respond to suspicious and/or “too good to be true” unsolicited job emails. If an opportunity sounds too good to be true, it almost certainly is.
- In general, applicants do not pay a fee to obtain a job (but there are some rare exceptions – so be careful, and consult with a professional at UCS).
- When in doubt, get the internship or job posting directly from the organization’s official website. Use an internet browser to find the organization, avoiding links from an email you have received or a posting in a job site. Check the careers/employment page of organization to verify that the posting is valid. Another option is to call or email the organization in question, using information from the organization website.
- Never provide financial information or your Social Security Number (SSN). Legitimate employers won’t ask for your bank account details or your SSN.
- Warning signs that could indicate a fraudulent posting: poor grammar and spelling, requests for personal information and difficulty contacting or identifying the Human Resources representative are all signs indicative of a fraudulent posting.
- When contacted by phone, the number appears as “not available” on the screen.
- Vague descriptions and evasive answers to your questions are signs that the focus is on identity theft or money rather than the job.
- Email domain that does not match the organization’s official website domain.
- Email domain of a free provider is used: gmail.com, Hotmail.com, yahoo.com, etc.
- Website that has information only on the job you are applying for, rather than about the organization in general.
- Request that you send them an initial investment.
- Request for your bank account information.
Follow these safety tips when going on an interview:
- Always ensure it is in a public place and that someone knows of your plans to interview and the location.
- If your instincts tell you it’s suspicious, it probably is.
- Do not feel pressured to give personally identifiable information in an application if you are not comfortable during an interview or during online/phone correspondence.
- Ask to take the document with you to complete and return so you have time to research the issue further.
What if I am already involved in a scam?
- If you have encountered a fraudulent posting, company or organization, please email UCS at KelleyUCS@iu.edu so the posting can be investigated and appropriate action can be taken.
- You 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 you have sent money to a fraudulent employer, you should contact your bank and/or credit card company immediately to close the account and dispute the charges.
- If the incident occurred completely over the internet, you should file an incident report with the United States Department of Justice and Federal Trade Commission (FTC).
What should I do if I’m suspicious of an employer or job posting?
If you have concerns about the legitimacy of an employer or posting, feel free to report your concerns to KelleyUCS@iu.edu.