Students: How to avoid internship scams

An internship can be a great way for undergraduates or recent post graduates to learn crucial hands on experience that they will need in their future careers. However, there are people out there who take advantage of young hopefuls with internship scams. If you are in search of an internship, don’t fall prey to these devious schemes. It is imperative that you learn the red flags in an internship posting. Here are ways to avoid internship scams so that you can land the real internship that will help you reach your career goals.

Internship ScamDon’t Pay Up Front Requests

Any internship that asks you to pay money is a scam. You should never have to pay out anything to a company in order to work as an intern with the possible exception of a drug or background check. However, the initial application process should never include fees. Typically, the scheme will involve payment and then the entity will disappear for good. Never pay any fees to anyone in exchange for an internship.

Make Sure You Can Verify the Validity of the Business

Although some internship ads may seem legit, it is important to dig a little deeper before showing up for the first day (or even your interview!). Verify that the business address isn’t a residential address. You can do this by simply visiting the address physically or searching the web for satellite pictures of that address. Another way to check the status of the company is to visit the Better Business Bureau website to view the rating and view any filed complaints. Lack of search results could also signal a red flag and you may want to reconsider moving forward with the “company”.

Be Careful about Opportunities on Craigslist

When it comes to buying furniture, selling old items, or even trading, Craigslist can be a very useful tool.  However, it can (but not always) mean bad news when you are searching for jobs or internships. It can be hard to verify who actually posted the ad even if the business seems to be legit. With the abundance of opportunities available on Craigslist, it can be tempting to jump at the chance for possible success. Just remember to take extra precautions to any opportunities you find on Craigslist.

If It Seems Too Good To Be True, It Just Might Be

Typically, anything that is too good to be true is a scam. No one will give you something for nothing. If  any of the hiring process for your internship seems to move too quickly or you are hired before you even internview, this can be a red flag. Most hiring processes include the submission of an application and/or resume, an interview process, and then an offer. If you get an internship before you even meet with anyone and they are offering big bucks, beware!

Feeling a little overwhelmed?  There is no need.  Follow these simple rules and you should be able to spot a scam a mile away.  For those in the Rhode Island area, visit for assistance in your internship search.

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Bridge is a program that focuses on connecting employers and students in Rhode Island. The goal of Bridge is to match Rhode Island employers with talented students looking to gain valuable professional experience. Applying knowledge and skills acquired in college to a professional setting is a vital component of a student’s college education. Students who gain relevant internship experience are better prepared for full-time employment after graduation. By hiring interns, employers gain qualified, career-driven young professionals as employees. Student bring with them exposure to cutting edge practices and technology, new insights and philosophies, flexibility and a thirst for knowledge. bRIdge has a particular focus on connecting students and employers from specialized fields such as Business, Science, IT, Technology, Health, Design, Engineering and Manufacturing. The bRIdge website allows employers to post paid or unpaid internships online and directly reach out to a vast and talented pool of students. College students and recent graduates can sign up and start looking for an appropriate professional learning opportunity in minutes. bRIdge is a program of the Rhode Island Student Loan Authority (RISLA) and RISLA’s College Planning Center of Rhode Island. RISLA has joined up with Association of Independent Colleges and Universities of Rhode Island (AICURI), the Rhode Island Board of Governors for Higher Education (RIBGHE) and the Greater Providence Chamber of Commerce to bring together academia, business and community. If you have any questions about this program or if you need any assistance, please feel free to contact us.

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