Scammers Prey on New Job Seekers – Learn How to Avoid Becoming a Victim

In 2014, job seeking has far more to do with sending lots of email traffic than pounding pavement. The prevalance of electronic communication allows job seekers to send resume/CV information to numerous employers, without so much as stepping foot out the front door.

This convenience does not come without risk however, and there are some common behavioral pitfalls that modern job seekers should avoid. Below are a few things to look out for to ensure you don’t fall for a job scam.

1) Never send Personally Identifying Information out through Email

Personal information of this kind refers to Social Security numbers, a driver’s license, or banking account numbers. At some point you will need to provide an employer this type of personal info, but the key factor is timing. If the employer emails you an application that has an entry space for your SSN or other personally identifying information, just leave those spaces blank and inform your employer you’re not comfortable divulging that information just yet.

The proper time to supply an SSN or similar information is much further along in the hiring process. Once you’ve had one or more face-to-face interviews and it appears that they view you as a likely candidate to fill the position opening. At that time an employer may have a legitimate reason to request your SSN for background check and/or payment processing purposes. The important thing to remember is this request for information should be done in person, not through an email stream.

2) Always research the company you’re applying to

Most good job candidates will do this anyways in order to prepare themselves for a potential interview, but it’s good practice to mitigate risk of scams too. Are you familiar with this potential employer? Even if you are, run a quick search on the company you’re applying to, as that extra five minutes can tell you a lot. If this is a commonly used scam, there will more than likely be message boards and other hits on your search that will tip you off about other job seekers being scammed by this particular “employer.” Even if it is a legitimate business, doing a search will no doubt reveal consumer reviews, which may give you insight into the company’s business practices.

3) Craigslist can be your best friend or worst enemy

Craigslist is one of the most common places job seekers go to find employment opportunities. The reasons for it’s popularity are easy enough to postulate – it’s widely used and completely free. This means potentially limitless exposure to employment opportunities, but it also means exposure to scammers, hackers, and other internet thieves. Exercise extreme caution when applying for jobs on this page. Not sure about a post? Check out the email address. Does it match the handle that contacts use on the actual company website? Is there a company website to be found? Is there other information, such as contact info, or a physical address? If you have trouble finding these things, that could be a good indication that the posting is actually a scam. For more ideas on how to avoid Craigslist scams, visit their “avoiding scams” webpage, or check out the latest news from a prominent anti-identity theft company.