Unfortunately, not every job posting is legitimate. Some internship and job offers are methods to obtain personal information for use in identity theft and or to take money from you. It is essential that you know how to distinguish legitimate internship and job postings from scams.


Basic Tips

  • When in doubt, get the internship or job posting directly from the organization’s official website. Similar to a phishing email, scam postings often capitalize on well-known organizations’ names and images. 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.
  • If you are posting your résumé online, leave out personal information such as specific details about past employers (addresses, phone numbers), your date of birth, and SSN number.
  • If an opportunity sounds too good to be true, it almost certainly is.

Red Flags

  • 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 stealing money rather than a job offer.
  • 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 information about the organization.
  • Request that you send them an initial payment, such as a deposit or investment.
  • Request for your bank account information.

What if I am already involved in a scam?

  • Immediately contact a local law enforcement agency (police, sheriff).
  • Immediately contact your bank or credit card company and dispute any fraudulent activity.
  • If the scam occurred online, file a report with the FTC.

Additional Resources:

Terms and Conditions

The Carleton College Career Center acts only as an intermediary between employers posting job and internship opportunities and candidates searching for opportunities. While the Career Center makes every effort to screen postings via Handshake, we make no guarantees about positions posted and have no control over the quality, safety or legality of the jobs or the truth or accuracy of the position posting. Students are encouraged to use caution and common sense when applying to positions. Because we cannot fully control the behavior of participants on our platforms, in the event that you have a dispute with one or more users, you release the Career Center and Carleton College from claims, demands, and damages arising out of or in any way connected with such disputes.