Avoiding Scams


We want to make sure that your job search is as stress-free as possible, and part of that includes helping you identify job opportunities that may be a scam. If you think that you have received information about a job opportunity that may be fraudulent, you can contact USF Center for Career & Professional Development to confirm its legitimacy.

Regardless of whether you are actively job seeking, you may receive emails, phone calls or texts, or other notifications of potentially fraudulent job opportunities. Here are a few things you should keep in mind if you receive a message that you believe could be a scam.

If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.

Fraudulent job opportunities often make claims that sound like they could be the perfect opportunity, from very high hourly pay rates to the option to work entirely from home. While this type of opportunity may exist in the real world, you should question these kinds of “benefits,” especially if you have had no previous contact with the organization offering them.

No application or interview process? Probably not a real job.

The application process is extremely important for hiring managers, Human Resources departments, and job seekers. The process offers all parties the opportunity to determine if the candidate and the position are a good fit. Many fraudulent opportunities have wording to indicate that they are trying to “fill the vacancy quickly,” and may skip the entire job application process. Emails about these opportunities may even be presented as “job offers” that require no application or interview, or simply ask you to reply with a resume or contact information.

If you are presented with a job offer but haven’t applied for a position or interviewed, you should question the legitimacy of the offer. Before responding to these types of “offers,” contact us.  We can confirm whether the opportunity is legitimate or a scam.

Keep an eye out for “spoofed” messages.

Fraudulent job opportunities are getting more sophisticated. Occasionally, scammers will disguise their communication source through a process called “spoofing,” and the message may seem like it is from a known, trusted source. This can apply to emails, phone calls, and even websites. This means that even messages that look like they come from another individual at USF or Handshake, USF’s career management system, may be spoofed.

Know when to give out your information.

If you are asked to supply your personal information – from an alternate email address or phone number to your Social Security number or personal banking information – that should raise some red flags, especially in an initial message from a potential employer. The information that an employer might need to move you through the application process, such as a phone number for a phone interview, would typically be supplied during the application process. If you receive an email asking for you to simply respond back with your contact information, and you’ve had no previous contact with the organization, the email may be a scam.

You should never have to give money to get a job.

If you are asked to send money, or to use your own money to purchase supplies, the opportunity is most likely a scam. You should never have to give money to get a job, and only in very rare cases will you need to purchase your own supplies. If you are offered money in the form of a check or money order to purchase supplies, you should confirm with your bank whether it is legitimate before depositing it.

The only time that you should give out your banking information is when setting up direct deposit as part of your on-boarding process after you have been given an offer letter.

What to do if you have responded to a scam job posting.

If you have responded to a scam job opportinity, you may want to follow the steps below:

If you have received a scam job posting but have not responded to it, you can safely ignore the message and mark it as spam.

How to identify a legitimate email from Handshake.

Email messages sent from the Handshake platform will always come from an @____.joinhandshake.com address. They also always contain a standard “footer” message that contains Handshake’s physical address (P.O. Box 40770, San Francisco, CA 94140), and the option to unsubscribe from future messaes or update your notification preferences.

If you receive information about a job opportunity, you can always check to see if USF is connected to the organization by searching forthem by name in Handshake. From there, you can also see available jobs they have posted, and apply to them through the Handshake system.

Handshake has also provided a webpage with information on how to stay safe when applying for jobs, which you can access here.

If you are having trouble determining whether an opportunity is legitimate, contact USF Center for Career & Professional Development for help.

Working for an employer and something seems off?

Contact Center for Career & Professional Development if you’ve been asked to do something you’re uncomfortable with.

Be conscientious of University policies, including the Acceptable Use Policy, when being asked to promote information or opportunities on behalf of an employer.

Click here to read the Acceptable Use Policy. For questions about the Acceptable Use Policy, please contact help@usf.edu.