How to Recognize and Avoid Job Scams

GVSU administration has been notified of a sharp increase in students being contacted by individuals posing as fellow students, campus faculty or staff, or representatives from Handshake, offering fraudulent "employment opportunities". Please use extreme caution when responding to direct offers of employment and/or when applying for jobs.

What to Look Out for in Job Scam Emails

If you receive a direct email containing any of the following, you may want to assume that it is NOT a credible job offer:

  • Typos, misspelling, incorrect capitalization or grammar.
  • A request to provide personal information over email before an interview.
  • Someone contacts you directly through a university email but then requests that you change to a different email.
  • A professor/department reaches out looking for a “personal assistant”. The university has approved means for posting jobs which go through a vetting process.
  • Offers a large payment for limited work (seems too good to be true).
  • Asks you to purchase items or cash a check for them and keep some of the money for yourself.
  • Offers a job before interviewing.

What a credible email sent through Handshake looks like

Handshake email heading

Any legitimate email coming from Handshake will look similar to this.

What do I do If I receive a fraudulent job?

If you receive such a fraudulent email (even if it’s from an account) or find a questionable job posted on a university site, please do the following:

  • Forward the email or a link to the questionable job posting to the IT Service Desk ([email protected]) and the Career Center ([email protected]).
  • Do not respond or click any contained links.
  • If you already sent information, or clicked on any suspicious links, please change your network 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. 

Unfortunately, cyber criminals get more creative with each of their scams and they can be very hard to detect. For more information on cyber safety please visit

If you are looking for a job or internship the Career Center is a great resource! You can schedule an appointment with an advisor by logging into Handshake or calling (616) 331-3311.

Page last modified October 5, 2023