David Kirkpatrick

November 16, 2009

Job search and identity scams

Filed under: Business, Technology — Tags: , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 2:03 pm

There are a lot of people searching for employment right now and there are plenty of scammers after the information job searchers are providing. Particularly identity theft artists. Resumes, and if it gets this far, employment applications are a treasure trove for ID theft crooks. A close acquaintance of mine had to ferret out a pretty significant ID theft threat while looking for work just last week.

These things have been around forever, and I usually get to laugh at, or get annoyed by at least a few each year since as a freelance writer one way I increase my client base (and the least preferred method compared to clients seeking me out or getting referrals from other clients or colleagues) is responding to blind ads seeking freelance content or other writing services. A lot of these ads are just horseshit companies looking to not pay for any services rendered, but every once in a while I come across a full-blown scam. Typically not very veiled for anyone with any amount of background in online scams.

The moral here? If you are looking for work, don’t let your situation allow you to let your guard down against scams and identity theft threats.

From the first link:

“We have seen a large proliferation of these scams over the past six to nine months because of the employment situation,” says Lyn Chitow Oaks, chief marketing officer of TrustedID, which provides identity-theft protection services to individuals, families and businesses.

She notes that identity thieves are targeting job seekers because they’re vulnerable and willing to share personal information as part of the job search process.

Two types of job search scams are most common, according to Oaks. One is a phishing scam, where identity theft perpetrators e-mail would-be victims to tell them about potential jobs and opportunities to make extra money. The e-mails direct recipients to websites that identity thieves have created specifically for gathering personal information, just as if it were a job application, says Oaks.

These fake applications request all the information job seekers would expect to provide, such as their name, address and phone number, as well as for information they may not expect to offer so early in the process, she adds, such as their Social Security number, permission to conduct a background check and bank account information.

“They tell you they need your bank account information so they can make sure your check can be direct deposited,” she says, adding that they’ll sometimes go so far as to say that they’ll place money in your account and then remove it just to make sure it work

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