The unemployed are at a greater disadvantage when a potent mix of optimism and desperation fuels a willingness to share personal information in an unguarded manner. When faced with the possibility of a position, an applicant does not wish to appear evasive, and readily gives a great deal of information about themselves—at their own detriment.
It’s OK to share: Contact information e.g. Name, Email address, Home address, and Phone number. LinkedIN profiles are recommended, and should be shared with an employer. If you have a personal website which is relevant to your target position, share that information as well. Before the time of a job offer from a legitimate business, this should be the extent of information shared because an employer should be able to contact you.
Don’t share: Social Security Numbers, Bank Information and other identifying information commonly used for password challenge questions such as your Mother’s maiden name. Scam artists will claim to need your Social Security Number and other related information to run a credit check—or will send you a link to a special site to run a credit check as part of the application process.
An unscrupulous website operator can also take your User ID and Password—knowing that many people use the same User ID and Password for every website—including online banking. When combined with general contact information, it can be used to steal your identity. Any time you create a User ID and password for a job application, it should be a new User ID and Password. By creating a spreadsheet, you can keep track of your different User IDs and Passwords.
Spam Job Postings/Offers: Unsolicited emails are common, and spammers continually update their phishing strategies to get a response. Promises of high pay for little work, or working at home are frequently found in the inbox; this doesn’t mean it isn’t spam—it just wasn’t caught in the spam filter. Stay up-to-date on current phishing techniques so that you can guard yourself from these attacks.
The same scam positions are often found in the form of advertisements. These ads are found in search results and on reputable websites.
Online job search services and Fake Job Placement/Recruiter Firms: By handing over your personal data, the company claims an assistant/recruiter will help you find a job. Third party recruiters can be legitimate, but if they ask for too much personal information up front, you should refuse. Instead of working with an online recruiter which could be fake, you should work with local companies—once you have met your recruiter.
Job Fairs: If a company at a job fair, or even the organizer of a job fair requests more than your basic contact information, do not comply. Job fairs have been used to take Social Security Numbers from unsuspecting applicants.
Upfront Fees: An employer should be paying you, not the other way around! Fraudulent activity includes, but is not limited to identity theft. Often, they won’t ask for secured information because they’re already getting what they want from you. Jobs that require you to pay “processing fees” for your application or to pay for a list of open positions are engaging in devious activity.
A quick way to check a company is to search the company’s name along with the words “fraud” or “scam” which usually brings results from others who have been burned by illegal or shady companies. Don’t be afraid to check a local business association such as the Indiana Business Journal’s website to check a company (in Indiana). Most libraries have a Research Librarian who will have access to information on a prospective employer. If you are a member of Reference USA, you may use your membership to research a company. For additional assistance, contact the Federal Trade Commission or the Better Business Bureau to research a company.
Don’t let scam artists take advantage of you. Wisdom and an interest in guarding your identity should be your guide. For more assistance with your Job Search, contact CrossRoads at 317-842-8881 if you live in the Central Indiana area.