Safety Tips for Your Online Job Search

Beware of an active check scam being emailed to student email accounts. 
Career Services does NOT recruit for employers and you will 
NOT get a valid job offer via email for a job you did not apply for.

Online job search systems have made it easier for you to find positions posted by employers. Unfortunately, the same technology makes it easier for scammers to create fraudulent postings to take advantage of you. While we make an effort to identify and reject fraudulent postings in Handshake, false jobs may slip through. Whether you are searching on Handshake or other job platforms, it is very important that you, as a job seeker, exercise caution.

Read the UCSB Back-to-School Cybersecurity Tip written by the UCSB Security Information Office

Beware of CHECK & MONEY ORDER Scams
The underlying premise to this rising scam is based on the victim receiving a counterfeit check or money order, depositing the item in their own bank account, and, to "demonstrate their ability to follow instructions", are asked to quickly forward a portion of the funds through a wire transfer service (Moneygram or Western Union) to the next person (actually the scammer). Later, when the counterfeit check bounces, the victim realizes that the money they have forwarded was actually their own money and is now lost from their account. Please note: no legitimate job or company will EVER ask you to send money to them.

Watch the following video created by the Federal Trade Commission and read through the safety tips before you start your search. 

Job Scams and Safety Tips

If a position or job offer seems too good to be true, if you feel uncomfortable with some of the information requested, or something just doesn’t seem right - either back off or proceed with extreme caution. Research the company thoroughly when applying to any position and before giving any personal information. Review the company’s website and Google the company name followed by “fraud”, “scam”, and “complaints.”

Here are some common red flags that may indicate that you are encountering a job scam:

  • You are hired without ever interviewing or meeting your potential employer.
  • There are multiple misspellings in the job description and/or in correspondence with the employer.
  • At the time of hire, the employer tells you they are travelling internationally and needs you to be their assistant and run errands for them.
  • You are asked to give your credit card, bank, or PayPal account numbers.
  • You are asked to send a payment by wire service or courier or transfer money.
  • You are offered a large payment or reward in exchange for allowing the use of your bank account - often depositing checks or transferring money.
  • You receive an unexpectedly large check, are promised a very large salary for very little work, or the salary is extremely high compared to similar positions.
  • You are asked for personal information, such as your social security number, or asked to complete a background check before being considered for the position.
  • You are requested to send a photocopy of your ID (i.e. driver’s license) to “verify identity”.
  • The posting appears to come from a legitimate company or organization, but the contact’s email address does not match the company’s website domain (i.e. rather than
  • The job posting doesn’t match the responsibilities of the job; rather it focuses on the amount of money you will make.
  • The position requires upfront fees.                     

What to do if you encounter suspicious postings in Handshake, think you have experienced a check scam, or receive a phishing email that contains a job offer for a position you have not applied for:

If the incident occurred entirely over the internet, file an incident report with the FCC at 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357) or at