Online job seekers are a major target for scammers who are looking to steal people’s identities. That’s why it’s important to be sure the jobs you are applying for are legitimate and you’re not inadvertently providing personal information that can be used for identity theft to a scammer.
To protect yourself, you should be aware of common types of identity theft that can happen during job searches and how to avoid scams while job searching.
Common Types of Identity Theft
- Collecting Your Personal Data: One way scammers can get your information is by simply prowling job search sites. Most job search sites allow users to post their resumes publicly so that companies can search through resumes and contact potential candidates. A fraudulent company can easily search through these resumes and collect any personal information listed. With this information, scammers could set up bank accounts in your name and potentially access your accounts. When you post your resume online it’s important to check the privacy settings on the site where you list and to be sure the site itself is legitimate.
- Fake Job Listings: Other scammers list fraudulent job openings on job boards and other job search sites. Before offering you the job or even meeting with you in person, they will ask you for either your bank account number (under the guise that they will be paying you by direct deposit), a copy of your utility bill (which contains your bank account information) or a background check. They will then use this information to access your account or set up an account under your name.
- Direct Email: Some scammers will contact you directly. They will often email you pretending to be a contact from a legitimate job site. These scammers may even offer you a job you didn’t apply for. Often, it is a job that seems too good to be true, such as a work-from-home job or a job in an exotic, far-away location. Like the scammers on job search sites, they will ask you for personal information, such as your bank account or PayPal account number.