Hunt safely -- it can be dangerous out there

by SixFigureStart | May 19, 2009

  • My Vault
When "times is hard," identity thieves are working extra hard: They bilked $48 billion from 10 million people in 2008. To combat scammers while conducting your job search, check out this article in Fortune this week. The author reminds everyone who's hunting to hold their personal info as closely as their banking and credit card details. Here's a quick recap:

1. Never disclose your birthdate or social security number in the initial process, on paper or electronically -- and definitely never over the phone from someone who claims they need it to advance you to the next round. Even later on (during the application/interview phase), it may be possible to skirt the issue. It's not necessary or advisable to include your address either -- it can easily be used to discriminate against you (do you live in an ethnic neighborhood or a crime-ridden one?). Same goes for your college graduation date.

2. Don't reveal too much -- take that both literally and figuratively -- on those social networking sites. (You've heard it before -- listen!) And be careful who you "friend."

3. Job boards are only as good as the companies that post there. Make sure to check the site's privacy policies to make sure they can't forward your resume or information to random third parties, career-related or otherwise.

4. If the ad seems too good to be true, it is -- just like all those fake emails from Google and Apple that used to promise a free iPod if you forwarded them to ten of your nearest and dearest. Forget about deposed royal millionaires from third-world countries, and jobs that need you to set up a special bank account.

5. Keep track of what you send, and where you send it, with detailed lists and electronic files.

While these protective measures won't help you secure a job any faster, they should at least ensure that you're not worse off for the process.

--Posted by Todd Obolsky, Vault Staff Writer

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