Many years ago, I couldn’t sleep one night after I nervously responded to a “blind” ad where I didn’t know the identity of the prospective employer. I never heard from the mysterious employer. In those days, no response meant no harm. Today, there are many more risks, so I warn job seekers to protect their identities by not responding to job posts where prospective employers aren’t identified.
An increasing number of scams are trying to take advantage of people searching for jobs. The risk of identity theft requires us to be vigilant. Most importantly, never provide your Social Security number until it’s time to fill out the paperwork required to start your new job. Here are three tips to help avoid identify theft scams:
Legitimate Job Boards And Recruiting Sites
Online job boards are a quick and easy way to post your resume as employers can contact you with job opportunities. Unfortunately, identity thieves know this and will create fake job boards and listings in the hopes to gain applicants’ important information. To avoid this trap, use only legitimate job boards and research every listing before hitting the send button. The Better Business Bureau is a reliable source for checking job companies’ credibility.
LinkedIn.com is a professional social media site geared to business professionals and job candidates. You can post education and work information without giving up personal identifying information. LinkedIn is still vulnerable to phishers looking for information, so look for mutual connections between you and the person who contacts you and verify them. Employers can contact you and you can screen them to ensure they are an actual company interested in your PR skills.
Track Where You Post Your Resume
The phone rings and you eagerly pick it up. It is an automated message claiming to be from a big name agency or company who saw your resume on an online job board. They would be interested in conducting a phone interview with you right now as they stress how important it is for you to not miss out on this golden opportunity. Yet before they can perform the interview, they need your personal information.
Voice phishing scams, also known as vishing calls, have been on the rise as identity thieves try to get your information through the use of automated systems. Just because they claim they are from that big name company doesn’t mean they are an actual recruiter. Keep track of where you post your resume and ask important questions to the people who contact you about the listing to determine if they are who they say they are.
Target Specific Companies’ Websites
Many companies welcome inquiries from people who’ve contacted them directly with resumes and CVs to respond to advertised positions or to offer professional expertise in certain areas. Yet you still must be careful. Identity thieves can set up fake company websites to lure people into a trap. A person visiting the website clicks on a link and unknowingly downloads a malicious virus or spyware onto their computer that tracks what sites they visit, the keystrokes on their keyboard, and any information the person types on their screen. Ensure you have the latest anti-virus protection installed on you computer and that it is up-to-date before clicking on any links. McAfee.com and others offer different types of virus protection plans and has free tools to scan your computer to search for viruses that may already be on your hard drive.