“Identity theft is the fastest growing crime in America”
According to the Federal Trade Commission, the number of identity theft incidents has reached 9.9 million a year. Every minute, about 19 people fall victim to identity theft and it takes the average victim an estimated $500 and 30 hours to resolve each identity theft crime. Identity theft is a serious problem that is why job seekers should know how to secure themselves when looking for a job.
Job Seeker’s Guide to Preventing Identity Theft
1. Avoid giving too much information in your resume
Be careful of posting your personal information on the internet. Do you really want just anyone to have your home address, home phone, fax number and all your email address? When creating your resume, avoid giving too much information (TMI) about yourself. Birthday, age, weight, height, complete address, and civil status do not belong in your resume because apart from leading to discrimination it also give hackers the chance to sniff your personal information.
Note: Never include such information as driver license number, birthday or Social Security No. on an application that someone sent you through email.
2. Upload your resume to trusted Resume banks
Ever since the advent of internet, job hunting has gone digital and became easier for applicants to look for jobs and employers to look for suitable candidates. This became possible because of electronic resume banks. Electronic resume banks are the computer dating agencies of the job search. Resume banks offer a potentially easy way to match job and job seeker. However, there is also a risk in uploading your resume to a resume banks. In some instances, your resume may get to the hand of the bad people if you are not careful. That is why you should only upload your resume on trusted resume banks like Monster.com, Indeed, Glassdoor and JobStreet. Remember, identity thief can make themselves look like real employers.
3. Create a separate personal and professional email address
One way to avoid identity theft is to create a separate professional email address and personal email address. You can use your professional email address in your job search and networking. In this way, you can protect your normal email from spammers. Here’s a guide for creating a professional email address.
4. Beware of spyware and phishing scams
Spyware and phishing scams are ways of hackers to sniff your personal information. Spyware is a type of malware installed on computers that collects information about users without their knowledge while Phishing is an attempt to acquire information (and sometimes, indirectly, money) such as usernames, passwords, and credit card details by masquerading as a trustworthy entity in an electronic communication. (Read more about spyware and phishing).
Protect yourself from Spyware and Phishing
- Protect your computer with a firewall, spam filters, anti-virus and anti-spyware software.
- When conducting online transactions, look for a sign that the site is secured such as a lock icon on the browser’s status bar or an “https:” URL whereby the “s” stands for “secure” rather than an “http:”
- Beware of links in emails that ask for personal information, even if the email appears to come from an enterprise you do business with. (Read more about Preventing Phishing Scams and Spyware)