Protecting Yourself - Online Fraud

The Minnesota State University, Mankato Career Development Center is committed to maintaining good privacy practices regarding electronic personal information for all of our users. All data collected for our Handshake job listing/resume database and on-campus recruiting services are stored on Handshake's secure servers.

We strive to provide our student and alumni jobseekers with legitimate, quality employment and internship opportunities and employers are obligated to adhere to our [PDF] Employer Terms and Conditions (436 KiB).

However, site users are still urged to validate job postings and use caution and common sense when applying. Do not disclose Social Security numbers, credit card information, or bank account numbers with unknown employers.

Below are some suggestions for protecting yourself from fraudulent job postings, and what to do if you encounter a job posting that you suspect is fraudulent.


  • Check out this video on Job Fraud Warning Signs
  • When in doubt, get the job description directly from the company's official website. Just like phishing emails, job posting scams may pretend to be from actual companies, using those companies' names and logos/images.
  • Google the company/contact and check the company's employment page to confirm the opening is real.  DON'T follow links from the suspicious posting, which could take you to a cosmetically similar page.
  • Call the company in question using publicly available contact information and ask questions about the job opening.
  • Don't provide checking, bank account or other financial information. Legitimate employers will not ask for your bank account details, and this information can be put to disreputable purposes.
  • Do not give out your Social Security number unless you are sure it is legitimately needed. Some organizations will request your SSN for use in a background check, but generally organizations will not ask for your SSN until after your interview. Ask why this information is needed and how it will be used, and make sure you are comfortable with the company before supplying this information.
  • Remember, if a job sounds too good to be true, it almost certainly is.


"Red flags" or warning signs of potentially fraudulent emails and websites include: bad grammar and spelling, requests for personal information, and difficulty contacting or identifying the person posting the job

Additional Red Flags:

  • You are contacted by phone, but the number is not available
  • The posting contains vague descriptions that focus on money rather than the job
  • The email domain listed for the contact (the part of the address) that doesn't match the company's official website's domain. Check for discrepancies in .com and .org, etc. also.
  • Note that some small business owners may not have email addresses using the same domain as their website, and may be using an email address from a free provider (such as,,,, etc.  This may be a legitimate job posting, but use caution and watch for any additional "red flags" regarding the job posting/employer.
  • Website that has information only on the job you're applying for, rather than about the company in general
  • Request for an initial investment or for you to cash checks and wire money
  • Request for your bank account access


  • Immediately contact the local police.
  • Contact the Career Center so the posting can be removed and other students can be notified.
  • Get in touch with your bank or credit card company and dispute any fraudulent activity immediately.
  • If the scam happened online, file a report with the FTC's cybercrime division

If you have specific questions or concerns regarding a particular employer, contact the Career Development Center at (507)389-6061 or