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Online Job Search Safety Tips

Career Services tries to screen employers and the positions posted to our website, but it is imperative that you, as a job seeker, exercise common sense and caution. Read position descriptions carefully!

If a position or job offer seems too good to be true, if you feel uncomfortable with some of the information requested, or if something just doesn't seem right – proceed with extreme caution. Even if the original position description seems valid, if you receive follow-up e-mails, phone calls or job offers that make you feel uncomfortable, proceed cautiously.


  • You are asked to give credit card, bank account or PayPal account numbers
  • You are asked to send a payment by wire service or courier
  • You are offered a large payment or reward in exchange for allowing the use of your bank account—often for depositing checks or transferring money
  • You receive an unexpectedly large check
  • You are asked to transfer money, including via e-Bay, PayPal or Western Union
  • You are asked for personal information, such as your Social Security Number
  • You are requested to send a photocopy of your ID, i.e., driver's license to "verify identity"
  • You are asked to complete a background check before you can be considered for a position
  • The posting appears to come from a legitimate company or organization, but the contact's e-mail address doesn't match the company's website domain (i.e., rather than or the company’s website domain is misspelled (e.g.
  • The job posting doesn't mention the responsibilities of the job; rather, it focuses on the amount of money you will make

Additionally, you may receive a job offer in response to your application to a legitimate-appearing position description that is actually a marketing e-mail to sell you job search "help." Some other tips:

  • Be wary of postings for Mystery Shoppers, work at home, or virtual Administrative Assistants or Bookkeepers. Some opportunities are legitimate; many others are not.
  • Gather as much information as possible about positions for independent contractors or franchise opportunities, especially those that are not explicitly advertised as such. Some opportunities are legitimate business opportunities, but opportunities in which some people who don't succeed lose money. Others are scams.
  • Beware of positions that require a financial investment or upfront fees.
  • If you are an entry-level candidate with little experience, be wary of an offer with a salary that is way out of range.
  • Multiple misspellings in a job notice are often a sign of trouble.
  • If the position listing is for an international opportunity, does it include travel expenses? Upfront program fees? Research the organization and compare its program/benefits with other similar opportunities.
  • Verify that a URL listed in the ad goes to the internet domain of the company that listed it. If it does not, it could be a scam.
  • When using job boards, read their privacy policies carefully. Also, read how easy it is for employers to post jobs by going through the site's employer links.

IF YOU ENCOUNTER SUSPICIOUS POSTINGS via our website or Racer Tracks...

  • Report your experience to Career Services at or 270.809.3735. You also can visit The Internet Crime Complaint Center.
  • Contact the police and report the fraud or scam.
  • End all communication with the employer.
  • Depending on what personal information was disclosed, monitor or close your accounts. Depending on the situation, you may need to notify the three credit bureaus: Experian, Equifax and Transunion.
  • If you sent money to a fraud employer, contact your bank or credit card company immediately to close your account and dispute the charges.
  • 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


If you have questions or concerns about job postings, a position for which you’ve applied, a task you’ve been asked to complete as part of the application process or a job offer, please contact Career Services to discuss it.

Adapted from Case Western Reserve University, October 2015 

Murray State Career Services
Office Hours: Mon - Fri, 7:30 AM - 4:00 PM (Summer) | 8 AM - 4:30 PM (Fall/Spring)
100 Oakley Applied Sciences Bldg | Murray, KY 42071 
P: 270.809.3735 (call for appointments) | F: 270.809.3516 |