Tech – for Everyone

Tech Tips and Tricks & Advice – written in plain English.

Tips for Safe Online Job Hunting

Recent events have made me decide to repost an important prior article.

A reader wrote in with a simply terrific question, asking about our modern way of finding employment. I think the answers are important.


I was laid off earlier this summer and have been looking for new employment since day one of my termination. The method for job search is now the Internet. You no longer can knock on doors and submit resumes and fill out application in person.
My question to you is, I have filled out numerous applications online and a number of companies ask for the last 4 digits of your social security number, and some will ask also ask for your month and day but not year of your birth.
I can understand if they are asking for a cell number, and some other standard information.
How can you tell if these are legitimate job sites or persons who are looking for quick score of your personnel information?

I have run into a few sites that offer jobs that seem to good to be true, once you contact them, they ask for up front money. A legitimate job site will not ask for any money. If they get paid it is from the employer.

Thanks for all you great information and keep up the good work,

A: I would like to applaud your awareness. Identity Thieves (and other scammers) are not only posting phony job listings, but whole websites. They are taking advantage of our desire (desperation?) and the supplicant nature of the job seeker.

  • Identity theft is one of the fastest growing crimes in America.
  • Depending where you look, the stats say someone’s ‘identity’ is being stolen every second, or once every three seconds. (Either one. Where’s the outrage?)
  • This isn’t something that “happens to other people”: cybercrime is big business, costing our economy over a hundred billion a year. That we know about.

I have written many articles on cybercrime, as well as ID Theft. I won’t repeat myself here (but encourage you to use my ‘keyword’ Search widget). I will focus in on the sentence I highlighted in bold — how can you tell if it’s a real job opportunity?

Well, the short version is: you can’t, always. There is no magic formula. You simply must apply a double dose of “paranoid common sense”. And apply a protective self-policy. Because, yes, you will have entered a predator’s favorite hunting ground.

These scammers will post positions on legitimate employment-seeking websites. And those sites will make an effort to find and remove the scam postings. Do they succeed? Yes. Allatime always 100%? Instantly? Don’t make me laugh. These crooks post new ones as fast as their old ones are taken down. Faster.
The online classified services simply aren’t as equipped to try to sift out the bogus, having neither the budget, staff, tools, or.. motivation. You should apply a triple dose of “paranoid common sense” in the classifieds.

(My questioner points out that some ask for month and day, but not year of D.O.B.. Why? Because your year is published in tons of places. The crooks will simply research, then add two and two… With the amount of info about us already posted online, the crooks don’t have to research too much, or gain too many tidbits, to pose as you.)

A protective self-policy – Cyber Safe Resume: Let me remind you of a few early postings. The second one directly relates to this subject..
Identity Thieves Want Your Resume
Cyber-safe Resume Gets Noticed
A Top Site for Finding Work

All are great supplements to this article, and if you are currently seeking employment, well worth your time (it helps they are short, ha!).

Here’s one more: Scams & Schemes in Work and Employment Services

Review the following websites for additional recommendations on how to proactively protect your identity:

(You may also want to consider investing in an ID “protection service, such as, LifeLock.)

I know you want the job, and don’t want to do anything that will jeopardize your chances.. or get your application tossed before it’s even read, but in this world, today, you really have to leave the box blank, or put in “I will provide this to a real person, but not in this online form.” If you only click one link here today.. click this one: Cyber-safe Resume Gets Noticed.

Research the company using a search engine. Call them and ask them, when you have doubts and concerns. (And understand, the scammers will post phone #s, and answer them too. The con is not restricted to ‘online only’.)

I do wish you a speedy and successful job search. (And no, I don’t live under a rock. I know it is dang tough out there. But don’t add to your troubles by becoming an ID Theft victim.)

Copyright 2007-2015 © “Tech Paul” (Paul Eckstrom). All Rights Reserved.

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March 4, 2015 Posted by | advice, cyber crime, Internet, privacy, security | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment