Thursday, July 13, 2006

Protect yourself from employment scams

A side effect of being visible to recruiters is being visible to scammers. The FBI recently released some tips on protecting yourself from online employment fraud (via Secrets of the Job Hunt, Information Week):
You respond to an online job ad. You’re contacted via e-mail for a fake interview. Then, you’re asked for bank account information in order to “direct deposit” your paychecks. Guess what? It’s all a ruse…and the crooks drain your account.

The FBI release has more examples and some tips to protect yourself. Fraud happens, and if your résumé is on a job board, you'll probably get one of these fake opportunities sooner or later. Here are some easy ways to protect yourself.
  1. Minimize the personal information on your online résumé. Email, cell phone, city and state should be all the contact information recruiters need. You can share the rest once you know who you're dealing with.
  2. Don't give a potential employer your bank account or credit card information, a scan of your driver’s license or other ID, or a detailed physical description of yourself.
  3. Don't include your social security number or birthdate on your résumé.
  4. When you're contacted about a job, perform a search on identifiable keywords (company names, Internet domains, abbreviations, people) from the message. Some common frauds are easy to identify with a simple Google search.
  5. The FTC has information on fraudulent business opportunities. Check it out before your respond to that "work from home" ad.

When you're contacted by a recruiter, do a little research before submitting personal information. "I found your résumé on Monster" may be opportunity knocking, or it could be someone who wants to steal from you. A few minutes' delay won't diminish your chance at legitimate opportunities, but it may keep you from making a big mistake.

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