Career Services at Illinois Tech uses Handshake for Illinois Tech students and alumni to connect with employers for full-time and part-time positions, internships, co-ops, and more. While we strive to eradicate fraudulent postings from Handshake, it is also the responsibility of students to exercise caution and perform due diligence in researching the opportunities before applying. Most job postings are legitimate but you should continue to be prudent and vigilant about the integrity of employers. In order to insure a safer job search, we have generated the list of tips to help you identify and avoid scam and fraudulent job postings. We highly recommend you to familiarize yourself with these “red flags” before using the platform.
Proceed with high caution or stop the application process if you find these fraud warning signs and red flags.
- The posting requires your personal information or financial documentation, such as your social security number, copy of your driver’s license, passport, credit card information, bank account numbers, and PayPal account numbers.
- You receive an unexpectedly large check or are offered a large payment or reward in exchange for the use of your bank account.
- The position requires an initial investment and you are asked to send a payment by wire service or courier, including via eBay, PayPal, UPS, FedEx, or Western Union.
- The contact email address contains the domain @live.com.
- The salary range listed is very wide, such as $30K -100K the first year.
- You are asked to provide a photo of yourself.
- The posting claims to be from a reputable company (often a Fortune 500) but the domain in the contact’s email address doesn’t match the domain used by representatives of the company (e.g. @microsoft.com may read @microsuft.com)
- The posting has no actual contact and company name.
- The position offers uncharacteristically high salary or wage for an entry-level or internship role that often requires minimum skills.
- The job was posted months ago, or is constantly reposted. (Note that the reason for this may be legitimate if the company has lots of similar positions to fill, or is waiting for the perfect match, etc. Be sure to use your common sense to determine the legitimacy of the posting.)
- Employer wants to hire you without an interview.
- Employer contacts you by phone but the number is unavailable or disconnected when you try to call them back.
- The posting includes many spelling and grammatical errors.
- The posting emphasizes on how much money you can make, but fails to include job descriptions or responsibilities.
- A Google search of the company name and the word “scam” or “fraud” results multiple scam reports concerning the company.
The listed red flags do not cover all possible instances of fraud. Thus, you should always use your own discretion when applying for positions.
I Think I Have Been Scammed! Now What?
Don’t panic. Career Services staff can help you navigate your next steps. What to do if you discover you have been scammed:
- Report your concerns and any suspicious postings to Career Services staff immediately, in person or through email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Report the incident to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) online or by calling 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357).
If you are already involved with the employer, take the actions listed below:
- Contact the local police and report the incident.
- If you have sent money to a fraudulent employer, contact your bank or credit card company to close or freeze the account.
Additional Resources for a Safer Job Search
- Better Business Bureau
- Ripoff Report
- Chamber of Commerce
- AT&T’s Anywho
- White Pages
- Watch Federal Trade Commission (FTC)’s Video
By Stacy Sealky Lee (November 20, 2015)