Tips for Avoiding Fake or Scam Job Postings

The Fleishman Center for Career and Professional Development encourages anyone searching for full-time or part-time employment, on hireBING or other places online, to take time to evaluate each posting and offer for legitimacy. While the opportunities on hireBING have been reviewed and approved by Fleishman Center staff, scammers can take different routes to trick people elsewhere, by creating false postings on job search sites, or soliciting students via email directly.

How can you tell if a posting or offer of employment is a scam? Stay alert to the following:

  • The employer contact email is a personal address (Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo, etc.) rather than a business domain name ( Conduct a web search of personal email addresses to see if others have posted about a scam. Note: Some start-up companies use personal email addresses initially, but this is usually temporary.
  • You are asked for personal information such as a bank account, social security number, credit card numbers, or are required to transfer money. Legitimate employers will not ask for this information at the application stage. Note: the Federal Government can ask you for your social security number in the application process.
  • Excessive errors of spelling and/or grammar, or simple information. If the posting seems incomplete, always contact the employer before applying.
  • You have never heard of the organization. Conduct research about their business. If you find only other job postings but no company website, this is cause for concern. Try searching LinkedIn for your contact and other employees, or see if any complaints have been logged with the Better Business Bureau.
  • You are offered the position on the spot or without an interview. Although this may occur for genuine offers, it more frequently indicates a scam.
  • The position is for a personal assistant. These are often vague and created to scam people: proceed with caution.
  • Multiple people contact you regarding a position at the same company, or the email address of the person contacting you changes.
  • If you receive a check and are asked to deposit it, or send back your own money, do NOT cash the check or send anything.

The following are some examples of the employment scam e-mails:

“You will need some materials/software and also a time tracker to commence your training and orientation and also you need the software to get started with work. The funds for the software will be provided for you by the company via check. Make sure you use them as instructed for the software and I will refer you to the vendor you are to purchase them from, okay.”

“I have forwarded your start-up progress report to the HR Dept. and they will be facilitating your start-up funds with which you will be getting your working equipment from vendors and getting started with training.”

“Enclosed is your first check. Please cash the check, take $300 out as your pay, and send the rest to the vendor for supplies.”

For more information on avoiding job scams, check out this page. 

If at any time you have questions or concerns about a posting or offer of employment, visit the Fleishman Center in UU-133 during business hours (8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday – Friday), or email us at or call (607) 777-2400.

By Emily Abatecola
Emily Abatecola Emily Abatecola