Job Search Scams: Recognizing Them & Protecting Yourself

Posted: February 20, 2023

Have you ever encountered an opportunity that seemed too good to be true? It probably is. While listening to your intuition is critical in avoiding fraudulent opportunities, scammers are more sophisticated than ever, so equipping yourself with the right knowledge will ensure you’re putting your energy into the right activities AND not being taken advantage of.

Signs of a fraudulent employer, job posting, or opportunity:

  • Posting or communication uses poor grammar, spelling, punctuation, and/or misinformation.
  • The employer wants to hire you immediately (with no previous meaningful interactions or interviews).
  • There are requests for sensitive, personal info (like logins, passwords, banking info, social security numbers, a copy of your driver’s license, etc.).
  • Persistent calls trying to pressure you into accepting what they’re offering, along with claims that you’ll lose the opportunity if you don’t reply ASAP.
  • They want you to send money. Know that you will NEVER have to pay money to an employer to get hired (at any stage of the process)!
  • Anything that sounds too good to be true.

What you can do to protect yourself against scams:

  • Verify job openings before applying. Visit the company’s official website (use Handshake to determine this if you’re unsure). Review the “career opportunities” or “jobs” section to establish the validity of the posting.
  • See what others are saying. Look up the name of the company along with words like “scam,” “review,” or “complaint.” The results may include the experiences of others who’ve been victims of fraud.
  • Never, ever pay for a job. Legit employers will never ask you to pay to get a job. Anyone who does is a scammer.
  • Never deposit a check from someone you don’t know. Employers will never send you a check, and then tell you to send them part of the money. That’s a fake check scam.
  • Check with ECS. Before you move forward with anything you are skeptical about, connect with us. We can help you assess the posting/opportunity and determine the authenticity before you take the next step.

The goal of the sender is to entice you to fall for the scam. If you feel that you have been sent a phishing or malicious email, do not respond or click any links. Forward the email to Ohio State’s Office of the Chief Information Officer at for phishing or for spam/malicious emails. Reach out to ECS at if you’d like help evaluating an opportunity for legitimacy.

"In a time of turbulence and change, it is more true than ever that knowledge is power." - John F. Kennedy