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Cornell University

Beware of Job and Internship Scams

Received a scam internship or job offer?

Online job boards seem like a great way to scour the web for opportunities, but they also give scammers a direct line to your contact information, so you need to be diligent. Recognize red flags, do your homework, and make sure it's legit. Keep safe online!

Know the Signs

Be suspicious if a listing contains any of the following:

  • Asks for your bank account number so they can pay you.

  • Asks you to pay money or to give them secure personal information.
  • Asks you to buy equipment or supplies for a virtual job.
  • Links to a generic e-mail address (like Gmail, Hotmail, or Yahoo) not corporate or academic e-mail.
  • Requires no interview or previous experience.
  • Came "out of the blue" to your inbox or phone.
  • Doesn't list a recognizable department, university, or company.
  • Sends you a check before you accept an offer or have done any work.
  • Sounds too good to be true!

Report the Scam

Change Your Passwords and Turn on Two-factor Authentication Whenever Possible

  • Changing the password to your e-mail and bank accounts is a great place to start—and make sure it’s a strong password. If you use the same passwords on other accounts, change those too. If your bank allows, we also encourage you to turn on two-factor authentication to add another layer of security. 
  • If you gave your social security number to a scammer head to to report it and get steps for a recovery plan. 
  • Freeze your credit score with all three credit bureaus. This is free and means that no one can view or access your credit score until you unfreeze your credit. This prevents someone from opening new credit accounts in your name. To freeze your accounts, go to each of the following websites: Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian, and follow their process for freezing your score. 
    • Whether you think you’ve been scammed or not, we recommend you check your credit report regularly. You can do so for free once a year through
    • Monitor all existing accounts often. Freezing your credit will only prevent new accounts from being opened in your name, but most fraud occurs on existing accounts. Monitor all bank accounts, credit cards, and online shopping accounts for unusual activity so you can report any fraudulent charges immediately.
      • It can be helpful to turn on all possible notifications, especially with your bank and credit cards, so you are alerted immediately to unusual activity. 

Did you pay a scammer any money?

Check out the information below to see what steps you can take. You may not always be able to recover the money, but the steps* below can help you get back what is possible.

  • Did you pay with a credit or debit card?
    • Contact the company or bank that issued the credit card or debit card. Tell them it was a fraudulent charge. Ask them to reverse the transaction and give you your money back.

  • Did a scammer make an unauthorized transfer from your bank account?
  • Did you send a wire transfer through a company like Western Union or MoneyGram?
    • Contact the wire transfer company. Tell them it was a fraudulent transfer. Ask them to reverse the wire transfer and give you your money back.

    • MoneyGram at 1-800-MONEYGRAM (1-800-666-3947)

    • Western Union at 1-800-325-6000

  • Did you send a wire transfer through your bank?
    • Contact your bank and report the fraudulent transfer. Ask if they can reverse the wire transfer and give you your money back.
  • Did you send money through a money transfer app?
    • Report the fraudulent transaction to the company behind the money transfer app and ask if they can reverse the payment. If you linked the app to a credit card or debit card, report the fraud to your credit card company or bank. Ask if they can reverse the charge.
  • Did you pay with cryptocurrency?
    • Contact the company you used to send the money and tell them it was a fraudulent transaction. Ask to have the transaction reversed, if possible.
  • Did you send cash?
    • If you sent it by U.S. mail, contact the U.S. Postal Inspection Service at +1 (877) 876-2455 and ask them to intercept the package. To learn more about this process, visit USPS Package Intercept: The Basics.

    • If you used another delivery service, contact them as soon as possible.