Looking for a job? Applying to so many places that you often forget where you applied? It happens to the best of us, but now days, we need to be careful with who we share our information with. A growing issue for job seekers is having their identity stolen by unknowingly applying to fake job listings. Listed below are a few ways on how to avoid getting your identity stolen when looking for work.
Don’t Give Too Out Much Personal Information Right Away
It is almost routine to fill in the blanks when applying for a job. When they ask for your name, address, phone number, email address, and sometimes even your birthday, you easily give them the information. No one goes into the job search process thinking that they are going to have their identity stolen while trying to better their lives with a new job, but unfortunately it happens. One way to protect yourself from identity theft is to remove your address from your resume. Employers don’t need to know your address right away. That information is something they can have after you have been offered the position. Also, if the job application requires you to fill out a questionnaire, make sure you have researched the company ahead of time to be sure of its’ legitimacy before giving them all of your information.
Keep Your Personal and Business Life Separate
One great way on how to avoid getting your identity stolen when looking for work it is to keep your personal and business accounts separate. Create a new email address that you can use on your resume and to sign up for different job posting sites. Never share your personal social media links with potential employers until you are sure they are in fact a real company. Your personal social media accounts can give away a lot of information and are considered a gold mine for hackers and identity thieves. If you choose to keep your personal and work email the same, make sure to create a new and secure password with security questions that are not easy to guess.
Only Use Trusted Job Boards
When looking for a new job, make sure you are using a secure job board. Often these job boards will require you to set up an account in order to have access to all of their local listings, but know that they almost always have privacy settings. You can be in control of what information employers have access to. Avoid putting your home address, social security number, and birthday anywhere on the site or your resume. Although most job boards try to filter all companies and recruiters using their site, it is impossible to catch them all. If you set up your privacy settings accordingly, you will avoid the risk of your information being leaked to that one hacker who slipped through the cracks.
Know Where You’re Applying
It is crucial that you do the appropriate company research before applying to any job. If something seems off about a description of a job, or they are vague about company details, trust your gut on whether or not you think it is a scam. Although these thieves will go out of their way to make a job description look real, there are telltale signs to look for to see if it is legitimate. If the job description requires you to fill out a questionnaire with personal information, be cautious. Never give out your personal information via email communication, wait until you have had a face-to-face meeting with the hiring manager in their company office before giving out personal information like your home address.
What Happens If You Get Your Identity Stolen
Identity thieves use your personal information to steal money from your account, open credit cards in your name, take out bank loans using an account they set up with your information, and sometimes even sell your information to third parties. When you make your home address, full name, and birthday available to “employers” these thieves use this information to steal directly from you. The repercussions of identity theft can have a lifetime of negative effects on your life. By not being cautious and protecting your information properly, you could potentially be signing up for a lifetime of bad credit and financial misfortunes because someone decided to steal your identity.
How to Avoid Getting your Identity Stolen When Looking for Work
Applying for jobs is already stressful enough, and having to worry about getting your identity stolen seems absurd but the reality of it is that it happens every day. Be mindful of where you are applying for jobs, know when something feels off, and never give out unnecessary personal information. Once you have been offered a position, only then should you give out your home address and birthday details. A lifetime of inconveniences can occur if you are careless with your personal information.