Avoiding identity theft when using online job applications

Helpful tips to avoid identity theft when using online job databases.

Getting a job isn’t always easy, particularly during economic recessions. Although applying online is supposed to make the arduous task a little bit easier for seekers and employers alike, it has created cybersecurity headaches for some. Those looking for work may want to be careful of how much information they reveal to employment websites.

Here are three tips from a recent CBS Money Watch article that should help users avoid identity theft when using online job databases.

  • No matter what: Don’t include your Social Security number, credit card information, driver’s license number or date of birth. An employer will not need your Social Security number until you have been hired.
  • Make sure that the company is legitimate. One way to do this is by reviewing the website’s privacy policy and user terms before you post information to the database. Also, be wary of providing your information to a company with a fishy looking website. One of the reasons businesses have websites is to provide enough information to lure in would-be customers. Websites that don’t provide contact information such as the organization’s address should raise a red flag.
  • Be wary of jobs that are too good to be true. Fantastic opportunities are likely to be felonious.

A recent unemployment scam in Michigan demonstrated the extent to which identity thieves can use personal information to their own benefit. U.S. attorney Barbara McQuade recently announced that eight individuals were indicted by a federal grand jury in Detroit on charges that they systemically obtained personal identification information from unsuspecting victims and used that information to file for unemployment benefits online.

“Technology makes it easier than ever to commit fraud, but technology also enables investigators to detect these schemes,” McQuade said. “Perpetrators of identity theft fraud should take note that they will be caught and prosecuted.”

In order to prevent identity theft from taking place over your computer, the CBS article emphasized that users should combine discretion with digital security measures. These solutions could range from whitelisting software to simply practicing heightened vigilance in regard to personal information.

Have you ever been the victim of identity theft? Do you know anyone who has had their personal information stolen?

Kate Beckham

Kate has been lighting up the blogosphere for over 5 years, with a keen interest in social media and new malware threats. When not sitting at a café behind her Mac, you’ll usually find her scouring the racks for vintage finds or playing guitar.