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The Resource Center Identity Theft & Protection The Resource Center | article

How To Protect Your Identity While Job Hunting

When information changes hands during the job application process, new candidates may be at an increased risk of ID theft.

Again and again, consumers are instructed to limit the amount of personal information they share on the internet. But, as companies continue to move their job application process online, people find themselves forced to shell out their personal data to land a job.

In most cases, this information is entered directly into an organization’s encrypted website. However, certain online job boards can be far less secure. Plus, scammers may set up fake job listings in an attempt to collect information from hopeful candidates.

Searching for a role at a new company can be exciting, so many applicants might be tempted to rush online, post their résumé wherever they can and apply for as many relevant positions as possible. But, this enthusiasm is exactly what identity thieves count on, hoping job hunters will let their exuberance get the better of their smart judgment – especially recent college graduates with less experience on the job market.

Whether you’re a career veteran or a job board rookie, there are a few best practices that can help keep your identity protected during the job hunting process. Moreover, some of these tips could also serve to increase the quality of the leads you get, as they can help filter out the spam.

Be wary of unsolicited offers

The age-old saying, “if it’s too good to be true, it probably is,” is especially applicable for career opportunities. While it might seem exciting to get a Facebook message from a “recruiter” offering you a high-paying job that requires little to no experience, such offers are rarely as clear cut as they sound – if they exist at all. Before replying, do some research of your own. Try to collect some background information on the company or the recruiter to gauge their legitimacy. If you decide to follow up, do so cautiously. To avoid sending your personal information directly to the recruiter, ask if their company offers a secure candidate portal. Even then, make sure to vet the website before entering any data, checking for an “HTTPS” or lock symbol that indicates the site is encrypted. Never provide details such as your home address or Social Security number unless you are sure of the company’s reputation.

“When in doubt, check with online resources such as The World Privacy Forum’s Consumer’s Guide to Online Job Sites,” Brian Lapidus, senior vice president at Kroll Advisory Solutions told CBS. “That said, it’s important to remember that no matter how credible the site or how well it safeguards the data it keeps, no one can guarantee what happens to your resume after it has been downloaded.”

Protect your résumé

Your résumé might feel like your key to getting hired – it tells potential employers exactly why you’re the most qualified person for the job. That being said, it’s important to be choosy as to where you post your résumé, as it also likely contains a slew of information a person could use to commit identity theft. From your name, address and phone number to contextual information such as the school you attended, previous places of employment, where you have or do reside and certain clubs or activities you may be involved in, this document could be a treasure trove for identity thieves. To keep this information as private as possible, avoid posting your résumé to public job boards. Instead, send it to potential employers directly once you’ve had a chance to do your due diligence.

Keep an eye on your credit

With so much information changing hands during the job application process, new candidates should make a point to watch their credit closely for certain signs of ID theft . Signing up for a credit monitoring service can help, too, as it can keep an eye on your credit files even when you can’t. When credit monitoring companies detect certain activity that may indicate fraud, they can send you a notification, giving you a chance to fight back.