Security Tips for Safe Online Job Hunting

Looking for a new job can be a daunting process, and frequently involves the exchange of personal information with complete strangers–which is why job seekers are an enticing target for cyber criminals.

As you look for a new job, be extra vigilant so your application materials and personal information don’t end up in the wrong hands.

TIPS TO PROTECT YOURSELF

  • Conduct a web search of the hiring company using the company name only. Results that return multiple websites for the same company (e.g. abccompany.com and abccompanyllc.com) may indicate fraudulent job listings.
  • Check for spoofed websites. Scammers will often spoof legitimate websites with the exception of small discrepancies in order to deceive victims.
  • If the hiring company is well known and has a website, contact the company to confirm the legitimacy of the job listing. It is likely the legit company has received other calls and can confirm a scam listing.

DON’T PAY TO PLAY

  • Never send money to someone you meet online, especially by wire transfer, prepaid cards, or money transfer apps.
  • If you receive any paper checks with instructions to purchase items or transfer money, contact the financial institution on the check to ensure the availability of funds.
  • Never provide credit card information to an employer.
  • Never provide bank account information to employers without verifying their identity.

PAUSE BEFORE SUPPLYING SENSITIVE INFO

  • Legitimate companies will ask for personally identifiable information (PII), such as social security number and bank account information for payroll purposes, AFTER hiring employees.
  • Before entering PII online, make sure the website is secure by looking at the address bar. The address should begin with “https://”, not “http://”. However: criminals can also use https:// to give victims a false sense of security. A decision to proceed should not be based solely upon the use of “https://”.
  • Evaluate the entire website, do a web search of the company, and consider contacting the business directly if you have any questions about its legitimacy.

REDO YOUR RESUME

  • Consider removing sensitive information from your resume, such as your home address.
  • You can also use a forwarding phone number instead of your actual phone number.

POSTS ON JOB BOARDS AREN’T ALWAYS LEGITIMATE

Websites that catalog job openings can’t easily verify the legitimacy of every single opportunity.  If you see a job on a job board, go directly to the company’s website to see if the job is also posted in their careers section. If it isn’t, this is a good sign the post is not legitimate.

BE WARY OF THOSE POSING AS RECRUITERS

  • Has a recruiter emailed or messaged you directly? If their email is from a generic domain (e.g., not from a corporate domain), ask them to email you from their corporate email address. Check to ensure the corporate email matches the website. Some scammers will spoof a legitimate email with minor variations to fool victims.
  • Do your research on the recruiter. Check to see how many followers they have, make sure they have a complete and professional profile, and do an internet search of their photo to see if it is used on other accounts associated with different names.

Information provided by the National Cyber Security Alliance in collaboration with the Department of Justice and the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center.

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