Résumés and online job applications are part of most every job search. But when they reveal sensitive information like your social security Number (SSN) or driver’s license number, you may be in trouble.
Identity thieves present one threat. They can steal personal information and then use it to open new credit accounts, perpetrate medical identity theft and even commit criminal identity theft. Job scams, which are set up specifically to capture info from unwitting jobseekers are another danger. These scams promise full-time employment but in fact are designed to get personal data that can be used or resold to other scammers.
If you’re searching for a new job, be sure to take precautions, even when dealing with a legitimate employment opening. Keep your data safe and thwart thieves who are operating job scams by following these simple tips:
- Protect your SSN and sensitive info: On your résumé, include only your name, address, telephone number, email address and relevant job history. Don’t include your SSN, date of birth or driver’s license number. If an employer requests that information before granting an interview, ask why it’s necessary, and if possible, withhold the information until you attend an in-person interview.
- Do your research: If a prospective employer calls you for more details on your application, look up the human resources (HR) contact on the company’s website and verify the phone number. Some job scams can be spotted because a thief will have a different area code than the company they’re claiming to represent. Be especially cautious if you can’t find the company information online or if their offices are only located outside the United States.
- Be suspicious of unusual requests: If you’re ever asked for your bank account number or credit card number, it’s highly likely that you’re being targeted in a job scam. The only justifiable reason that an employer needs your bank account info is for payroll direct deposit — and even then, you should only provide it after being hired.
- Consider confidential searches: On several job sites, you can post your résumé for viewing by employers. For an extra level of protection, though, you can save your résumé as public while hiding your contact info, current company and references. Employers will only be able to contact you through a confidential email address set up by the job site.
- Learn the top job scams: More employers are offering flexible schedules, telecommuting options and part-time positions. While there are real opportunities out there, job scams can take advantage of your desire for a work-from-home career. Monster.com highlights four scam-ridden occupations: envelope stuffing, at-home assembly work, medical billing and refund-recovery businesses. If you think you may have identified a legitimate position, take the time to check out the company through the Better Business Bureau or Fraud.org.
Stay Aware of Dangers
In general, use the same level of caution when job searching as you would in everyday life. You wouldn’t hand over your SSN or bank account info to a stranger who calls you at random, so why would you during a job search?
The fact is, identity theft poses a real danger today. But by being smart, you can stay safe. Start with our identity theft protection services, which help safeguard your identity and offer assistance in the event your identity is compromised.
Image courtesy of Flickr user Kate Hiscock.