Avoiding Employment Scams

When looking for a job or internship it is important to be aware of potential scams. Here are a few basic guidelines to follow to avoid fraudulent opportunities:

  • Never cash a check or give money to an employer. This is a common scam where an employer will instruct you to cash a check and spend some of the money. The check is fake and you will be responsible for the amount of withdrawal. Legitimate employers will not ask you to spend money or cash a check on their behalf. They will also not request you to wire funds by Western Union or any other service.
  • Do not give out any personal financial information. Employers should never request bank account or credit card numbers as a pre-employment condition.
  • Question if an employer offers you a job or internship without an interview or previous personal contact. Most reputable employers will require at least an in person interview before an offer is made.
  • Be suspicious if the position seems too good to be true. The employer may be trying to get your personal information or scam with you with over the top promises. Be cautious of vague job descriptions that focus on money rather than the responsibilities and qualifications of the position.
  • Carefully analyze any emails your receive form employers, especially if you did not apply for a position at the organization. Make sure the email address matches the organizations. Scammers may use a familiar company name, but their email domain will not match those of real employees of the company. The address could be off by just a letter or symbol. Also take note if the email is unprofessional or contains a number of spelling and grammatical errors. Legitimate emails will have very few if any errors.
  • Research organizations and job postings. Always take the time to thoroughly research employers. Check their websites and careers section to see if the posting is listed. Perform online searches of the organization to see if any suspicious information comes to light. You can also search the company name and the word “scam” and see if any fraudulent activity has been documented. The Better Business Bureau is also a good resource to consult for complaints/fraudulent activity. While not foolproof, researching any potential employers will give you a better understanding of the organization and may bring any red flags to your attention.

If you have suspicions about an employer or job posting, please reach out to your BU Career Center. If you receive a check from an employer, you should also contact the BU Police Department and DO NOT cash the check.

If you found the opportunity on Handshake, please let the career center know. Employers are vetted by BU and Handshake, however neither BU nor Handshake can guarantee that all of the internship and job postings are legitimate. As with any online platform, use your discretion and best judgment when evaluating opportunities, and when in doubt, contact your BU career center.

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