Internship and job seekers should be aware that they may encounter scammers and cyber criminals posing as potential employers, in order to steal candidates’ money and personal information. This page provides guidance for identifying fraudulent postings, precautions you can take, and resources for reporting scams.

Employers posting on LionSHARE are screened and provided with CCE’s policies and procedures. Nevertheless, it is the responsibility of users to do their due diligence before interviewing with or accepting an offer from any company posting a job listing on LionSHARE. Be advised that Columbia University and the Center for Career Education do not make any representations or warranties about the parties that utilize LionSHARE or the accuracy of the information provided by the parties. Columbia University and the Center for Career Education shall not be responsible for any damage or loss of any kind arising out of or related to your use of LionSHARE and/or the information contained therein. 

Identifying Fraudulent Postings

The list below describes typical practices by employment scammers.  If you answer “yes” to any of these questions, you should be cautious.

  • Does the job seem too good to be true? Does the posting or offer promise a large salary with minimal work required? 

  • Is the posting vague or the hiring process too simple? Are the qualifications described in the posting minimal (e.g., you must be 18 years old)? Were you hired immediately after a quick interview or no interview at all? Legitimate employers will want to know about your skills and experiences relevant to the position.

  • Does the employer contact use a personal email address or an email address that does not match the company name? Hiring managers and recruiters should always use an official company email address. 

  • Does the employer’s communication contain obvious errors? Does the employer send texts or emails with spelling errors, inappropriate capitalization, or poor grammar?

  • Is it hard to find information about the employer? Does the employer not have a website? Or does their website have very little information? Are you unable to find information about the employer from other sources?

  • Has the employer asked you to transfer funds or deposit checks? Does the position expect you to transfer or wire funds between accounts? This may be part of a money laundering scheme. Has the employer sent you a large check and requested you cash it using your personal bank account? Alternatively, has the employer asked you to pay upfront to secure your job? All of these actions are highly suspect, and you should stop communication immediately. 

  • Has the employer contact asked for personal information such as a Social Security number or bank account? Employers should never ask for your personal information before you have become an official employee. Do not provide personal information over the phone, text, or email.

For more information visit The Federal Trade Commission Consumer Information on Job Scams.

Protecting Yourself from Fraudulent Employers

Throughout your job search, take the following precautions to protect yourself from potentially fraudulent employers.

  • Research the employer: Search online for information about the employer and the employer contact. Review the employer’s website and any other information available online. Look up the contact on LinkedIn to confirm that they work for the employer. If you suspect that the contact is pretending to work at an established company, contact the employer directly about the job posting.

  • Do not click on links or call phone numbers in suspicious communications: This may be a way of phishing for your information. Check the email domain to confirm that it matches the company. Be aware that scammers may mimic part of an established company’s domain. If you would like to communicate with the employer but are uncertain if the communication is legitimate, research the employer’s contact information independently.

  • Do not share personal information: A legitimate employer will not ask for personal or financial information over the phone, email, or text.

  • Do not rush your actions: Fraudulent employers may pretend urgency to induce you to share financial or personal information. Do not feel pressured to provide this information. If you are uncomfortable with or unconvinced by their requests, end communications with the employer.

Reporting Suspicious Employers and Fraudulent Job Postings

The following resources are available to help you take action against potentially fraudulent employers.