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Student Job & Internship Scams: Know the Red Flags

September 30, 2019

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.

The university has recently received reports of fraudulent job posts appearing on websites frequented by UMass Amherst students.

Remember, when interacting with a job posting:

  • 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
  • No legitimate job poster will ever ask for any of these things

UMass Amherst asks that students 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.

If a potential employer ever asks you to do any of the above, please contact your College Career Center or the UMass Career Development Hub immediately at 413-545-2224, and forward any suspicious emails to