How to Spot Fake Internships

Every news channels and articles cover the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on businesspeople and industrialists. After the first few months, most of the companies have bounced back to their almost normal functioning. 

On the other hand, college students seem to bear the brunt of the pandemic. They have taken enormous blows to their education and career prospects. 

Not everyone has the interest or financial support to sign up for college. But for those of you who do, the college experience is a significant phase. It is not just three or four years of suffering and misery. Other than meeting new friends and finding your passion, the college offers a boatload of various opportunities. 

College helps you to rediscover and reinvent yourselves. Most of the days are about figuring out who you are and what you want to do with your life. You learn about the responsibilities and consequences of your actions. Most importantly, college helps to locate job opportunities through their placement cells.

Generally, the students of every batch attend internships in their respective fields to gain exposure. During the pandemic, the mode of education has shifted to online. Unfortunately, due to the inability of some colleges to offer internships, students turn to the internet for such opportunities. 

Taking advantage of the situation, several fraudulent agencies swindle the naive and unaware students out of thousands of rupees. Some of the companies take advantage of our hard work and dedication and fail to pay the stipend. 

I experienced a similar incident. During my first year of college, I enrolled in an internship at XYZ company. It consisted of four weeks of learning and another four weeks of working on a real-time project. Seeing that I could learn about the latest innovations of hybrid electric vehicles, I paid a hefty amount of ₹2000. 

I eagerly awaited the start of the course. On the first day, they uploaded a recording of a live video about the introduction to electric vehicles. The explanations were horrible. Also, the video was dated eight years back. The following videos were of similar quality. At the end of four weeks, the instructors assigned us a group project. But a group was not allocated, and a topic not given even after two weeks. Later, I came to know that the internship was a scam. 

Nevertheless, there are a few red flags, which will help you spot a fake internship or job offer. 

  1. If you pay to get an internship or a job, you are on the wrong track. Employers pay you for your work. It is not the other way round. Also, ensure that you do not give away your personal information, such as bank details and social security number while applying. 
  2. Always research the company to which you apply for an internship. Check their LinkedIn profiles and see if they have any employees listed in them. You never know whether it is a genuine one or not. 
  3. Reputed companies use a professional copywriter to provide accurate and consistent information on their websites. Therefore, be on the lookout for any spelling or grammatical errors on the listed opportunity. 
  4. If the pay is too less or too good to be true, reject the offer without a second thought. Sometimes scammers may entice you with ostentatious pay to deceive you.
  5. Request for an offer letter as soon as you decide to accept an internship. It lists the terms and conditions of the contract and provides basic information about the salary. Legitimate companies are not afraid to give them out.

Although most spurious internships are easier to spot, some companies assume clever tricks to deceive the candidates. With numerous scamming companies mushrooming everywhere, always be on the lookout for fake opportunities.