Be aware of online job and internship scams.

Finding a job or internship can be hard enough, but college students are frequently targeted by fake employment opportunities. Below, you'll find some tips for identifying fraudulent job and internship advertisements. While this is not an exhaustive list, it should help get you started in evaluating whether an ad is legitimate or not.

Job Posting Red Flags

Requests for protected information

Employers should not request your social security or driver’s license information in the initial application.

Requests for money

You should not be asked to provide any financial documentation, credit card information, or bank numbers in a job application. Beware if you are asked to invest money, deposit a check, or transfer funds.

The employer's contact info is not tied to the organization

When you Google the employer's email address or phone number, you should expect to see information about the organization. If nothing comes up, consider it a red flag. If you find a legitimate website, check to see if the person you are communicating with is listed in a staff directory.

Unpolished or Unprofessional Presentation

Job descriptions should be free of grammatical errors or misspelled words. Most often they will include some professional branding, such as a company/org logo.

It sounds too good to be true

The position description should not simply focus on the money to be made. All job responsibilities should be clear. A job offer should not come via an unsolicited email.

Misleading website or email addresses

Website links should match the organization's actual website, and contact email addresses should be tied to the organization (rather than free access accounts like @gmail, @hotmail, @yahoo, etc.)

Warning Signs of a Scam

Check out this ~3minute video from Candid Career with key Should & Should Nots.


If You Encounter a Questionable Job Posting

If you have communicated with the employer

  • End all communication with them and contact the police
  • Closely monitor your bank account for fraudulent activity
  • Contact your bank or credit card company immediately if you shared any financial information

If you suspect that a post may be fraudulent

  • Report it to the police
  • Contact the Career Center if there is a UVM connection (i.e. you saw it in Handshake)
  • If the job/internship ad came through your UVM email account, forward the message to

We make every effort to screen employers and job postings on Handshake. However, the Career Center acts only as an intermediary between employers posting job opportunities and candidates searching for job opportunities. Please refer to our Terms and Conditions for additional information


The University of Vermont Career Center


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