Avoiding Scams

While efforts are made to ensure positions posted in Rutgers Handshake are legitimate, it is always wise to use common sense and caution when applying for or accepting any position.  We encourage all students to research the facts and reputation of each business to which they are applying.

The following are several common “red flags” to assist you in identifying scam and fraudulent job postings:

  • Do not give your personal bank account, PayPal account, or credit card information to a new employer. Legitimate employers will not ask for this kind of information on an application, by phone or email.
  • Do not agree to have funds or paychecks directly deposited into any accounts by a new employer Arrangements for direct deposit or paycheck should be made during your first day or week of actual employment on site, not before.
  • Do not forward, transfer or send by courier (i.e. FedEx, UPS), or “wire” any money to any employer using your personal account(s). Fraudulent employers want access to your bank account and money.
  • Do not transfer money and retain a portion for payment.
  • Do not respond to suspicious and/or “too good to be true” unsolicited job emails.
  • Be aware of a company website that is not active, does not exist, or re-routes users to another website unaffiliated with the company. This is a sign that an employment opportunity is most likely not real.
  • Job postings should not include spelling and grammatical errors. This is an indication that the posting was written by a non-professional & therefore the job is probably not legitimate.
  • A high salary or wage listed for a job that requires minimum skills is designed to entice you and to get you to apply for the position. Why would any employer offer a high wage for a low skilled job?
  • Carefully research any position that states that you will be working from home and need access to a personal computer. While it may sound convenient, you need to be aware when using your own personal resources.
  • If the job is a “start-up business” or a private company just getting off the ground, it may seem exciting to get in on the ground level. These may be very legitimate jobs, but it is important to research them carefully.
  • If you are offered a large payment or reward in exchange for allowing the use of your bank account (often depositing checks or transferring money) or you receive an unexpectedly large check, do not attempt to cash or deposit the payment. These checks typically bounce and you are then held responsible for bank charges and money used, wired or transferred.
  • If an employer contacts you by phone and there is no way to call them back, or the number is unavailable or disconnected this is not a legitimate business. Serious employers want their applicants to be able to reach them and will have an active phone.
  • Legitimate employers will openly and willingly provide a detailed job description of the job responsibilities and duties to see if you are a good fit for the job. If an employer hesitates to do so, or focuses instead on the amount of money to be paid, be very careful.

If You Think You Have Been Scammed

If you have encountered a fraudulent posting, company or organization, we recommend you stop all contact with that employer and contact abuse@rutgers.edu to report the incident. You can also report the scam to the Federal Trade Commission. If you have sent or received money, you should contact your banking institution.

Interview Safety

When gong on a job interview, always ensure that it is in a public place and that someone knows of your plans to interview as well as the location of the interview.

Do not feel pressured to give personally identifiable information on an application, during an interview or during online or phone correspondence.

Always follow your instincts.  If it feels suspicious, it probably is!