Fake job ads are up 345% over the past three years, according to one U.K. financial security association.
Job seekers beware. Identity thieves are looking to steal personal information from those searching for employment.
Fake job ads are up 345% over the past three years, according to the U.K. Association for Payment Clearing Services, and the Identity Theft Resource Center (ITRC) warns that would-be workers should be careful about providing personal information to purported employers.
The ITRC offers seven tips to help job seekers avoid being scammed:
Protect your Social Security number. Don't put it on your resumé and only provide it to a company when you're convinced you're a serious prospect for a legitimate job.
Consider creating an e-mail account specifically for your job search. This can help limit possible damage from spam, phishing, and other e-mail scams.
Look into companies that place job ads by researching them with the Better Business Bureau or through a state database. Anyone can create a Web site.
Avoid any Web site that asks you to preregister using your Social Security number, home address, or driver's license number. You should also be suspicious of sites that ask for payment to view job listings.
Make sure your computer security software and settings are up to date before sending out resumés and job-related e-mail. Phishers and scammers look for job seekers to bait with fake job offers because they're receptive opening messages and clicking on links.
Make sure your contact at a company actually works there and watch for signs that something isn't right, like an e-mail address that's inconsistent with the company's Web site address.
Be wary of common job scams. Jobs that require you to cash checks for a company or open a bank account, known as "money mule scams," could leave you open to charges of money laundering.
The ITRC offers additional tips for avoiding identity theft while searching for a job at its Web site.
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