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Dos and Don’ts of Protecting Your Personal Information During Job Search

Most people will admit that we’re facing a tough economy since the financial crisis. A though economy that derived from much fraud and deceit, makes for a fertile soil for more fraud including identity fraud.

Unfortunately, the bad economy encourages the worst habitual vermin and breeds new species of parasites that seem ready to dupe the unsuspected public. The unemployed, those losing their homes, and others that are indebted and can’t pay their bills will become victims and risk losing their identity unless they remain on high alert and are vigilant. 

The risk of losing one’s identity in exchange for the opportunity to earn an honest living is a huge price to pay. But, we can all be careful and remain on high alert to protect ourselves while we do what we have to do to survive.

In the last few weeks, based on contacts made to jobs postings found on different sites, I’ve reviewed job applications and got disgusted because many of them put job seekers at risk for identify fraud and identity theft. Many are simply seeking information on job seekers, many don’t have any real jobs, websites that seem real are actually of non-existing companies and most were simply from people were clearly attempting to defraud job seekers. If you’re unemployed and are seeking a job, or lucky to have a job and simply want to switch jobs, there are dos and don’ts that you need to know.

The following is a selection of some of the jobs applications that an employer requested to be filled out. The combination of the requested information is enough to raise a large red flag that screams STOP this is too much. No potential employer is entitled to all that information without actually paying you checks.

Full Name including middle initial
Home Address
Employer’s names and addresses
Salary for each job beginning to end
Social Security Number
Driver’s License Number
Military Experience
Copy of your passport
Your mother’s maiden name
Your bank account number
Your bank account’s pin number

Giving away the aforementioned is a sure bet that someone is trying to steal your identify or sell the information to someone who steals identities and it might just be yours.

Be smart, you may be unemployed or seeking a new job, but you’re not stupid.

On another line of the application, it reads, “I understand that all information on this application is subject to verification and I consent to criminal history background checks.

I consent to references and former employers and educational institutions listed being contacted regarding this application.

I authorize___________to rely upon and use, as it sees fit, any information received from any of the sources listed or gathered.”

ARE YOU SCARED YET?

Is it just me or are you being asked to give your identify away?

Why would anyone give that information?

All this before you’re even interviewed?

A bit arrogant for a potential employer to ask you for so much and I hope you refuse to give your life away. After all, it takes a long time to fill out these forms and answer these questions. Who’s paying you for this? Look at it this way, any employer that seeks employees and expects them to spend so much time before it even employs someone, is selfish and you should think twice about working for such employer anyway.

An employer who thinks your time is not valuable and expects you to work for free is not worth the effort you put working on filling out applications for free. Are these folks too lazy to read your resume? Or do they simply think they’re doing you a favor by taking your time?

Employer/employee relationship offers mutual benefits and just because the economy is not as prosperous as it normally is, does not give any employer the right to mentally torture you and take your time for granted or try to defraud you. A clear warming sign that the employer who wants total control over your personal information is not worth it or just might be an identity theft. 

Dos and Don’ts of protecting your personal information during job search:

  • Do keep your personal information personal. That’s right, don’t give it away to just anyone!
  • Don’t give out your social security number to some idiot over the Internet or over the phone
  • DO NOT write your Social Security Number on job applications you complete for jobs you found on the Internet
  • Don’t consent to background checks or personal invasion or to stealing your identify before you’re made a job offer—a real job offer.
  • Do check if the company is legitimate
  • Do file a complaint if you suspect you’ve given away your personal information to someone who might defraud you
  • Do check with your local police department for information where to report possible ID fraud or theft
  • Do not pay anyone to find you find you a job
  • Do not download information
  • Do not respond to an obvious fraudulent email
  • Do file a report if you feel that your identity has been compromised or is at risk of being stolen
  • Do do your own research and verify information
  • Do know that if it’s too good to be true, it is too good to be true
  • Don’t deal with “employers or recruiters or HR people” you can’t meet in person

If there is no offer on the table, an employer has no business asking for your social security number or you consent for background checks. A valid job offer can be contingent upon background verification. If they insist on having your documents, you are likely to be a victim of Identity Theft and Identity Fraud

 See these links to more information on identity theft and identify fraud

http://www.justice.gov/criminal/fraud/websites/idtheft.html#whatshouldido

http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/microsites/idtheft/consumers/about-identity-theft.html

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