Protect Yourself in the Job Search Process
boston college career center
We know that you’re working hard to find that perfect internship or job. However, it is important to be aware that what appears to be the perfect job may not be so perfect. Not every job posting is legitimate; scammers may post fraudulent jobs to get your personal information for identity theft or to get money from you. These fraudulent jobs can be difficult to spot, but it is important for you to be aware of some tips on what red flags to look for and how to protect yourself if you think you may have applied to a fraudulent job.
The Boston College Career Center makes every effort to verify the legitimacy of employers and job postings listed on EagleLink. However, the ultimate responsibility for researching a potential employer and its opportunities lies with the applicant. Keep these tips in mind for any job opportunity you receive by email, find on a job board, or find on EagleLink. If you feel uncomfortable about any job opportunity, do not click on any links and do not provide any personal information. Contact the BC Career Center with any questions you have about the legitimacy of an employer or an opportunity.
- It requires that you provide your credit card, bank account numbers, or other personal financial documentation. Do not give out any financial information at any point during your job search and hiring process.
- It requires an initial investment, such as a payment by wire service or courier.
- You are asked to provide your social security and driver’s license information in the initial application. Personal information should never be asked during the initial application process.
- The posting has many spelling and grammatical errors.
- The position is listed as any of the following: Bookkeeper, Envelope Stuffers, Home-based Assembly Jobs, Office Administrator, or Online Surveys.
- It promises a large amount of money for very little work, or the description focuses on the amount of money to be made, and neglects to mention what the responsibilities of the job actually are.
- The contact email address contains the domain @live.com, @hotmail, @yahoo, @gmail, etc.
- Be cognizant of unsolicited e-mails that are not specifically directed to you. Many employers have access to resumes via career centers. Therefore, reach out to the Career Center should you have any concerns or questions.
- Be leery of non-approved employment flyers on campus and in other establishments.
- The employer responds to you immediately after you submit your resume (Note: this does not include an auto-response you may receive from the employer once you have sent your resume).
- The employer contacts you by phone, however, there is no way to call them back.
- The interview is conducted online, via text or chat and an offer is given almost immediately.
- You receive an unexpectedly large check.
- You are asked to provide a photo of yourself.
- When meeting an employer in person, it should always be in a public place (their office, coffee shop, etc.). Be wary of anyone asking to meet you at their home or offering transportation.
- Does the company’s website look legitimate? Scammers often create quick, basic web pages that seem legit at first glance, but it often doesn’t contain information beyond the job opportunity. You can also use sites like the Better Business Bureau and Hoovers to verify organizations. Use social media to research each employer, e.g., Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, LinkedIn. Research the company on websites such as Glassdoor.com for feedback and complaints.
- Does the domain in the contact's email address match the domain used on the company website? Often scammers will try to appear as a legitimate company, but will change characters in their email domain that don’t match the real company email address.
- Research company websites thoroughly: Does the company have a website? Does the website match up with the posting? Does the website look legitimate? Look for “stock photos,” grammatical errors, and poor use of English language.
- Is it hard to find contact information? If it is difficult to find an address, actual contact, company name, etc., you should proceed with caution.
- Can you find scam reports online for this company? You can Google the company name and the word "scam" (i.e. “X” Company Scam).
- You should immediately contact the Boston College Police Department.
- If it is a situation where you sent money to a fraud employer, you should contact your bank or credit card organization immediately to close the account and dispute the charges.
- If the incident occurred completely over the Internet, the student should file an incident or call the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) at: 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357).
- Please contact the Career Center, too, as we want to be informed of illegal activity related to postings so that there will not be other victims.
- The Federal Trade Commission’s Consumer Information Site on Job Scams
- FBI Public Service Announcement warning of internet based employment scams on college students.
- Fraudulent Employers: Tips for Career Centers and Students and Protecting Yourself from Fraudulent Employers blog posts.