Avoiding Scammers

Avoiding Scammers

Job and internship seekers should always remain vigilant while conducting their career searches. Unfortunately, anyone can become a target of scams. Scammers and cyber criminals pose as potential employers and create fake job listings, in order to steal candidates’ money and personal information. While some scams can be easy to identify, some are more difficult to spot. We’re here to help you to find the perfect opportunity and actively avoid scams. 


View the answers to FAQs below on how to identify, avoid, and handle job scams, as well as resources for navigating tricky situations.

Remain cautious if…

  • Information on the opportunity is lacking or contradictory.
  • The job posting is too vague.
  • Compensation offered doesn’t match the industry expectation.
  • The hiring process is sketchy or too simple.
  • Communications take place through modes such as texting, Whatsapp, phone calls without a callback number, video calls where their camera or microphone isn’t working, or they make excuses not to communicate.
  • The employer uses a personal email address or an email address that does not match the company name.
  • The employer’s communication contains obvious spelling or grammatical errors, or aren’t directly addressed to you.
  • It’s hard to find information about the employer.
  • The employer contact asks for personal/financial information such as a Social Security number, bank account or electronic funds transfer, answers to security questions, codes texted or emailed to you.
  • The employer asked you to transfer funds or deposit checks.
  • The posting neglects to mention the responsibilities of the job. Instead, the description focuses on the amount of money to be made.
  • It’s hard to find information about the employer.
  • It seems too good to be true.
  • Research the employer contact and affiliation to the company. Confirm that they work for said company. If you suspect that the contact is pretending to work at an established company, reach out to the company directly about the job posting. 
  • Don’t share personal information. 
  • Google the name of the company + “scam”, to see if the results show that there are several scam reports for this employer. Verify information from more than one source.
  • Don’t rush your actions. Scammers often manipulate emotions to pressure you to share financial or personal information, or send money in exchange for getting hired faster.
  • End communications with employers who make you feel uncomfortable, or if you’re unconvinced by their actions.

When in doubt, decline it. It’s easier to find other opportunities than to be faced with the aftermath of a scam.

  • If you’ve had money or identity stolen, contact your local police department to file a police report.
  • If the job was posted on the TC NEXT Careers Site, report it to the TC NEXT office by emailing tcnext@tc.columbia.edu.
  • Visit TC NEXT located at Suite 157 in the 528 Building or call us at 212-678-3140. We’ve dealt with these situations before and we’re able to provide support. 
  • Contact Teachers College Public Safety if you are in immediate danger, by calling 212-678-3220.
  • Check out the guidance from The Federal Trade Commission on what to do next if you were scammed and how to report scams to the FTC.
  • Consider making a report to the The Federal Bureau of Investigation Internet Crime Complaint Unit, who accepts reports of job scams and provides instructions. 

The U.S. Department of Justice also accepts reports of job scam incidents that have occurred over the internet.

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