How can you tell if a job is a scam? What can you do to protect your identity when job searching? And what can you do if you get scammed?
I asked Lyn Chitow Oakes, Chief Marketing Officer of TrustedID, for advice for job seekers who are worried (and we all should be) about protecting their identity online.
How can job seekers tell what is a scam and what isn't?
Identity thieves are very good at creating an environment that looks and feels exactly as it should so you may not know at first glance. However there are a some key things you should ask yourself:
- Is this a legitimate business - do they have a website and can I find both a physical address and a business license for them?
- Are they asking me for any personal information that makes me uncomfortable or seems inappropriate up front?
- Are they offering to pay me cash or too much money for the job being requested.
Are there are red flags to watch out for when job searching?
When searching for a new opportunity, there are a few things to consider: If you are being asked to provide any personal information other than how to contact you at the initial set of conversations, ask why and how the information is required. If you are not comfortable, don't provide it.
A recent scam asked for new candidates to give them their bank information so they could make sure they could send them their payroll check. These candidates gave them access to their bank account and - surprise - they didn't put any money in, they took money out. Never provide your bank account details unless you are hired.
Also be wary of offers that promote higher pay with not equivalent duties, payments in cash or if the business doesn't provide a contact person
What information shouldn't you share with a prospective employer?
It's important to know what not to share and when to share information. At the start of your conversation you should only have to share your contact information and email address.
As your conversation continues, additional information such as your phone number is appropriate and once an offer is presented a background check may be requested. This is not unusual and information such as social security, past residences and previous employment will be required.
What information is safe to disclose?
Its safe to disclose your name and email address, and that's a good starting point.
How can a job seekers protect themselves when posting information online?
If you are planning to post your resume on a online career site - prepare it for a public posting. Do not include your Social Security number, birthdate and/or drivers license.
What can you do if your identity has been stolen?
If you suspect your identity has been stolen, contact your police department to report the theft and we would recommend that you place a fraud flag on your credit report immediately to help stop any potential new credit being opened in your name.