Recognize & Avoid Job/Internship Scams | Westmoreland County Community College, Youngwood, Pennsylvania

Recognize & Avoid Job/Internship Scams

Protect yourself and your information from job and internship scams designed to steal your personal information and money.

Some job scams are easy to spot while others are not. So how do you protect yourself and your information?

Signs an Opportunity May Be a Scam

Beware if an Email or Job Posting:

  • Does not indicate the company name
  • Comes from an email address that doesn't match the company name
    • Example: instead of 
  • Does not include the employer contact information such as the title of the person sending the email, company address and phone number
  • Is vague and includes typos and grammatical errors

Beware if You are Offered a:

  • Large amount of money for almost no work 
  • Job without applying and/or interviewing
  • Large payment for allowing the use of your bank account-often for depositing checks or transferring money
  • Payment in advance, which you may or may not be asked you to return a portion of 

Beware if you are Asked to:

  • Pay an application fee
  • Provide your credit card or bank account numbers
  • Send payments by app (Venmo, PayPal, Cash App), wire service, courier, or any other means
  • Send the following information in an email:
    • Address
    • Birthday
    • Gender
    • Copy of Your ID or Driver's License
    • Social Security Number
    • Bank account information

DO NOT provide any personal information, especially Social Security numbers or financial information!

Protect Yourself By:

Researching Every Opportunity

  • Visit the organization’s website
    • If the organization doesn't have a website or the website doesn't seem to match the advertised job, that may be cause for concern
    • If a website exists for the organization, evaluate the following:
    • Is there specific contact information? Does this information match the information in the email/posting?
    • Is an address listed? If not, this is suspicious. If an address is listed, research it to determine whether this address is associated with the organization and makes sense for the organization, for example, is an office building, not a residential address
    • Are jobs and career information actually posted on the site? 
  • Lack of pertinent information is a red flag.

Using Google 

  • Search the name of the organization to gather information and recent news. 
  • You can also search by "scam" to look for signs the company has been reported in any type of fraudulent activity.
  • Search the email of the individual contacting you
  • Search the phone number and address provided for the organization

Checking With Consumer Services

What to Do if You Receive a Fradulent Email

If you think you may have received a fraudulent email (even if it’s from an account) or find a questionable job posted on Purple Briefcase, Westmoreland’s online job board, please do the following:

  • Forward the email or link to the questionable job posting to Information Technology ( and the Career Connections Center (
  • Do not respond or click any contained links.
  • If you already sent information or clicked on any suspicious links, change your account password immediately.
  • Never share bank or personal information over email. If this information has been shared, you should:
  • File a complaint with the police.
  • Notify your bank if you have done any financial transactions, e.g., cashed one of their checks.
  • Contact your phone carrier to learn how to block calls and/or get a new phone number (if you gave out your cell phone number).
  • File a Report with the FTC. Please report the job scam to the Federal Trade Commission, the nation's consumer protection agency, which collects complaints about companies, business practices, and identity theft. 

The Career Connections Center (CCC) provides job/internship listings for the convenience of students and alumni. While the CCC strives to verify the legitimacy of the organizations and jobs posted, the CCC makes no representations or guarantees about listings or the accuracy of the information provided by the employer. The CCC does not endorse or recommend any particular employer, and a posting does not constitute an endorsement or recommendation.

The CCC encourages students and alumni to perform due diligence in researching employers when applying for or accepting employment and to thoroughly research the facts and reputation of each organization to which they are applying. Students and alumni should be prudent and use common sense and caution when applying for or accepting any position. As you conduct your job or internship search, watch for these common Job Scam Warning Signs.

For additional information, check out the Job Search Tips on the Career Connections Center's Student Resources Site.