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Job Search Safely: Avoid Job Posting Scams

As you search for your next job, we want to help ensure your safety.  Unfortunately, we continue to see a number of employment scams targeted at college students. Some of these scams appear in more obvious places such as Craigslist or KSL Jobs and sometimes a few even make it past our screening processes onto the Handshake job board. Therefore, we are sharing common “red flags,” - things that alarm us in postings, so you too, can attempt to identify such scam and fraudulent job postings.

Please always use your own discretion when applying to a position or interacting with a potential employer. If you are in doubt about an opportunity, don’t hesitate to contact the Career & Professional Development Center at 801-581-6186.

Common Red Flags:

  • The business name is not easily identifiable and no clear business website is listed. Or, if there is a website, there is no substance to the content.
  • The email address of the ‘recruiter’ doesn’t point to a business website and/or is a Gmail, yahoo, aol, etc. address. Another indicator is if their email domain name doesn’t match the business they claim to be working for. 
  • The employer offers to send a check to you to deposit into your own account. You are told to keep a percentage of it for your own pay but are then asked to withdraw cash, using it to pay for various items that they ship to ‘clients’. Or you are asked to immediately transfer funds from your account to the ‘employers’ business accounts. After the check clears (which can take a few days to a few weeks), they are discovered to be fraudulent.
  • The job is advertised as high-paying, no experience necessary, work your own hours, work at home and so on – if it’s too good to be true, it probably is!
  • The job duties described are vague and/or the language is poor and full of grammatical errors. 
  • The job duties entail clerical work at home, typing, shipping packages, and personal assistant/shopping duties. Oftentimes the employer is out of the country and never actually interviews or meets you face-to-face. 
  • The employer requires you to pay money or a ‘membership fee’ in order to access opportunities.

Resources for You

  • If you have encountered a fraudulent posting, company or organization in Handshake, please contact the Career & Professional Development Center via phone (801-581-6186) or email so the posting can be investigated and appropriate action taken.
  • If you have been a victim of a scam, we encourage you to immediately contact the local police; the police are responsible for investigating these incidents regardless of whether the scam artist is local or in another state.
  • If you have sent money to a fraudulent employer, we encourage you to contact your bank and/or credit card company immediately.
  • If the incident occurred completely over the internet, you may also file an incident report with The United States Department of Justice ( and the Federal Trade Commission (

Ultimately, the best place for you to find employment is through Handshake or other reputable job/internship sites, which we are happy to help you with! If you are in doubt about an opportunity, again, please don’t hesitate to contact the Career & Professional Development Center at 801-581-6186.

Last Updated: 6/28/18