Scams and Identity Theft Crimes targeting job seekers are always lurking around and are definitely on the rise. There are scams that are there to just get your money and there are those scams that may lead to Identity Theft.
At one point or another in our lives, we all look for a new job or a new career. This is probably the easiest way to steal someone’s identity. You just never know who is posting those fake job announcements!
Unfortunately, some job seekers reveal too much information about themselves in their resumes and they really do not pay attention to the warning signs, when scams are staring right in their faces.
So, here are just a few quick tips on how to keep yourself safe when searching for a new job.
- Never include your Social Security Number on your resume. Surprisingly, it happens more often than you think.
- The same goes for other personal information such as your age, sex, marital status, etc.
- Never provide your Social Security Number, financial and other information to anyone prior to a face-to-face interview. Even then, be extremely cautions. It has been reported that fraudsters pose as recruiters for legitimate companies. They even conduct face-to-face interviews off premises, of course, and then ask for your personal information.
- Withhold your sensitive information until you have met with the hiring authority, visited the company and have a solid job offer on the table.
- Always research a company that you are interviewing with.
- Don’t be afraid to work with recruiters/headhunters. Do your due diligence and research them as well. Just keep in mind, a legitimate recruiter most likely will not ask for your SSN and financial accounts information. That does not apply to employment agencies, though. Usually, you get hired by an employment agency, which sends you out to temp assignments. Again, research.
- Do not list your home address on the resume; instead, get a P.O. Box.
- Consider using a different phone number for your job search. You can get a phone number for free these days. Google Voice anyone?
- Set up a separate email account for your job search.
- Never respond to unsolicited “job offers” and never follow the links contained in those emails.
What are the warning sign you should pay attention to?
- The job posting promises minimal hours of work with huge pay.
- You are asked to pay money upfront as a processing fee in order to start working.
- The job posting is for a rebate or a payment processor. You are asked to deposit fake checks or money orders to your account, withdraw funds minus “your” commission-usually 10%-and send the rest to the fraudster via wire transfer or western union. Do not become a “money mule”! Unknowingly and unwillingly, you will be a part of a criminal act.
- “Potential employer” or a “recruiter” wants to conduct your background check or set up your bank account for direct deposits without even talking to you. No legitimate employer would ask you for your personal sensitive information until they have met you, interviewed you and ready to hire you.
- Pay attention to job postings with misspellings, grammatical mistakes, writing style and terms such as “package forwarding”, “ship items”, “import/export expert”, “money transfers”, “wiring funds”, “mystery shopping”, etc.
If you ever become a victim of a job search scam and provide way too much information to fraudsters, immediately notify your bank, close your existing accounts and open new ones; notify credit reporting agencies, place a fraud alert in your credit file and order your credit reports; file a complaint with the FTC and IC3; file a police report. Continue monitoring your accounts and credit reports on regular basis.
Have you ever had your information stolen while searching for a job? Tell us your story in a comment section below.