Protect Yourself From Identity Theft in Your Job and Internship Search!
The tight job market has led to an increase in reported cases of attempted identity theft via bogus job announcements and scam job offers. Protect yourself by taking the following precautions:
- Don't share your social security number or passport information as a condition to apply for a job or be offered an interview. Legitimate employers typically will not ask for your social security information until after a job offer has been made. One notable exception to this is employment with the United States government.
- Don't share bank account information as a condition to apply for a job or be offered an interview. After you have accepted an employment offer, you may be asked for bank account information or a cancelled check to set-up direct deposit, but use caution in these situations. See the note below about researching the employer.
- Use caution when posting your personal information on commercial job search sites. Consider leaving your mailing address information off of your accounts on commercial websites and perhaps only listing your phone number and email address on resumes posted on these sites.
- Research employers to verify their legitimacy. When in doubt, verify an employer's legitimacy by getting a mailing address and using independent resources (Chamber of Commerce, Better Business Bureau or online resources like Career Insider or Reference USA). Also check websites that post information about scams, like http://www.hotscams.com or do a simple Google search for the company name and the word "problem", "scam", "ripoff", etc.
Most importantly, trust your instincts and use common sense! If an employer seems too eager or responds almost immediately to your application or inquiry, this may be a sign of a scam. If it seems too good to be true, it probably is!