students using laptops

Student Job & Internship Scams: Know the Red Flags 

Members of the campus community, especially students, are reminded to keep an eye out for false jobs listings when searching for work or internship opportunities online. 

Scammers create and maintain fraudulent postings on many reputable job boards, for monetary gain, including Handshake and even networking sites like LinkedIn. While every position that is posted to Handshake is vetted, sometimes fraudulent postings make it through. 

Scammers may also directly contact you, for example through email or phone, soliciting to hire you for an open job position. Some will even go as far as stating that they represent an established company. They may even reference UC Davis in some way to make them seem more legitimate. 

Learn more from:  

Take action to protect yourself

  • Never give out bank or personal information (e.g., a Social Security Number) 

  • Never agree to deposit a check or money order into your bank account 

  • Never send money to another individual 

Remember: No legitimate job poster will ever ask for sensitive personal or financial information.  

Know the red flags

Scrutinize any listings that might seem too good to be true. Some common red flags include: 

  • Catchy job titles - Fake listings and scammers emphasize certain words and phrases in the job’s title to catch your attention, such as “Work at Home,” “No Experience Necessary”, “Make $1000 a week,” or “Work just one hour a week,” or “Personal Assistant.”
  • Payment requirements - Job postings that request payments for training materials, starter kit, or other items can often be a scam.
  • Lack of employer details - Fake job postings can include little to no details in the ad about the company itself, lacking basic details such as the job’s location, the company’s name or website, detailed contact information, etc.
  • Fake websites - If the listing’s homepage is hosted by a free domain, such as Yahoo, it may be a scam. Scammers will also sometimes use an actual company’s website information and post it as a fraudulent site. Research the company name and check to identify when the website was created. If the website was created recently or owned by someone not in the same location as the company, it could be fraudulent.
  • Unsolicited emails - If you receive an unsolicited email and it comes from a free domain email address (e.g.,,, or it could be a scam. If the name of the email signature does not match the name of the email, this may be a scam. Never click a link in an email from someone you do not know: it could be a virus or other malicious software. 
  • Personal information requests - Requests for personal information via email, such as a copy of your ID, bank account information, social security number, or even photos of yourself, can be used by identity thieves.
  • Guaranteed job offers - Legitimate employers do not promise a job before discussing your skills and experience. 
  • Specific words or phrases - Beware of words in the job description, such as “wire transfers,” “PayPal,” “eBay,” “package forwarding,” or “money transfers.” These are common indicators of a scam. 

Many thanks to UMass Amherst whose content served as the basis for this page.