Fraudulent Employers

Posted Jul 7, 2016 by Anu Vora

Approving an employer to post jobs at your school can seem like a simple process. Theoretically, all employers requesting approval should come to your school bearing career-building opportunities for your students, but always be sure to ask “Can I trust this employer with my students’ information?”

The term “fraudulent employer” can take on many different meanings. Sometimes, it means that the company was made-up and has no legitimacy. Other times, the company is real and the Handshake user is pretending to be affiliated with a legitimate organization. If these employers are able to get access to your schools, they can post jobs, download student data (usually resumes), message students, and potentially scam the very people you are trying to help and protect.

The good news is…there are preventative measures your team can take to ensure that little to no fraudulent activity occurs at your school!

  • Use the Trust Score. When companies request approval at your school, glance at their Trust Score. The Trust Score is comprised of the following key pieces of information: (1) The number of schools that have approved the employer vs. those that have declined them. (2) Flags submitted across the Handshake community. (3) The number of approved jobs the employer has posted. (4) Profile completeness. (5) Activity in the system. Does the Trust Score fall between 80-100? That’s the safe zone. But it doesn’t mean you should automatically approve the employer. There are a few other actions you should take to ensure that fraudulent employers don’t slip through the cracks.

  • Make sure the user’s email matches the company domain. This is how many fraudulent users sneakily make their way into Handshake’s platform. Check the user requesting access’ email address against the company web address. Do they match? Your goal is to ensure that the user is who they say they are.

  • Check the approved and declined school numbers. Are there 10 approvals and no declines? That is a pretty good sign that the employer can be trusted. Are there 2 approvals and 20 declines? That should tell you whether or not other schools have found this employer to be suspicious.

Employer Fraud Profile

These are actions you can take with the approval process. There are also ways to prevent student engagement with fraudulent employers. Here are some tips you can equip your students with:

  • If something feels “too good to be true”, be suspicious. The best protection is to be suspicious if anything is “too good to be true” and flag any employer who seems suspicious, so Handshake can investigate immediately. If an employer is making promises that no other employer has ever made before - it’s possible that they just want to lure you in to steal your resume information or scam you.

  • Never cash a check for, or give any money to, an employer. A common technique of Internet scammers is to ask you to cash a check at a bank, and then return some of that money to the employer while you get to keep some of the cash for yourself. This is a scam. No reputable employer will require you to pay for anything on your own, or cash a check on their behalf, before starting your job. If you receive any email asking you to do anything remotely like this, flag the employer immediately within Handshake and contact your city’s better business bureau.

  • Question if an employer says they’re hiring you based on resume alone. Any reputable employer normally requires an interview (and more) before hiring. If you have any questions or concerns, flag the employer and Handshake will investigate.

If any of the employer’s information causes you to question their legitimacy after you have gone through these steps, consider the following options:

  • Flag the employer if you are extremely suspicious of their legitimacy

  • Approve the employer to see their job postings, and if the jobs look illegitimate, flag the employer immediately.

  • Dig in a little deeper (ex: check the user’s LinkedIn profile) and figure out if that user has ties to the employer they claim to be working for

Employer Fraud Bulk Action

Here are some helpful support articles you can read if you are curious about how to flag an employer, how to approve a pending employer user, or how our Trust Score is calculated.

We take fraudulent employers very seriously. The vast majority of our employers (including 93% of the Fortune 500) offer incredible opportunities to your talented students. Security issues on Handshake are truly a rarity. Our priority is to protect students and ensure that the number of fraudulent employers on Handshake comes as close to zero as possible. We have iterated our product to make it harder than ever before for a fraudulent employer to make their way into Handshake. We now prevent known fraudulent domains from registering, we help make it more apparent to you when an employer requesting access uses a personal email domain versus the company domain, and so much more. Much of Handshake’s fraudulent employer prevention happens before a company is able to register on Handshake in the first place. Every day, we are trying to make this process as quick and effective for your school as possible.

With over 70,000 different employers on the system, this effort still requires Career Services staff members and students alike to help make getting access to Handshake impossible for frauds - we need your help! Reporting suspicious activity, using the Trust Score, and checking to make sure users are being honest can help reduce the overall number of fraudulent employers in Handshake for all schools. We very much appreciate how proactive our users have been in flagging suspects in the past and because of your cooperation, we have been able to refine and strengthen our safety measures. Thank you!

If you have any questions, please contact support@joinhandshake.com.