Carnegie Mellon University

Carnegie Mellon University and our partner Handshake have processes and procedures in place to ensure that all employers engaging with students are legitimate and reputable. Unfortunately, due to the high volume of employer and job requests, there may be times when individuals impersonate a company in which they have no affiliation. This does not happen often, but when it does, we urge students to report all encounters that might not feel right. The CMU CPDC and Handshake will immediately investigate all situations that involve fraudulent and scam employers. 

Unfortunately, most situations involving fraudulent employers originate outside of Handshake, usually through direct messaging via email or phone.  Fraudulent employers often say they received your contact information through the University, but this is not true. The University will never provide your contact information without your consent. In terms of Handshake, your information will only be accessible to approved employers - plus, you have the option to make your information public or not. Please review the information below to protect yourself from being taken advantage of by a fraudulent employer.

A fraudulent employer is an individual who falsely represents their identity, company, job posting, and/or any other aspects of employment. Fraudulent employers are looking to take advantage of students for monetary gain or identity theft.
  • Personal Assistant Scam: Employer will reach out through email, offering compensation for one hour of your time for an interview conducted via text message.
  • Hired without Interview Scam: Employer will send you an offer letter, however, you never interviewed for the particular job.  They will sometimes use real or fictional names of people you may know such as faculty members at your institution.
  • The Too Good To Be True Scam: Employer will offer a salary or other benefits that seem to be much higher than the average salary/benefits for a job like this.  There will usually be a sentence that asks the employee to pay an upfront fee/training fee prior to starting the job which will be reimbursed at the end of the training.

Learn about more job/employer scams here.

  • If something feels “too good to be true”
  • The outreach asks you to cash a check, buy a gift card or similar-Never cash a check for, or give any money to, an employer
  • If an employer: 
    • Tries to hire you based on resume alone
    • Conducts interviews are over text message
    • Asks for social security numbers or banking information
    • Uses a personal email such as Gmail, Hotmail, or yahoo
  • If an employer attempts to hire you before speaking with you
  • If there are multiple spelling and/or grammatical mistakes in the communication from the contact
  • If the employer email is different from the official employer website URL (i.e., vs. or
  • Flag the employer (if they are in Handshake)
  • Contact your Career Consultant/Report it to the CPDC: 412-268-2064
  • Report it to Campus Police: 412-268-2323
  • Contact your Bank (if you sent any money or provided information such as bank account info, Social Security Number, etc.)
  • File a Report with the FTC: the Federal Trade Commission collects complaints about companies, business practices and identity theft

Learn more here.