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How to Avoid Internet Job Search Scams

Out of a job and looking for work? The scammers don't care.


How to Avoid Internet Job Search Scams
Photo: Brand X Pictures / Getty

It's tough trying to find a job in today's economy. Scammers don't make things any easier by preying on the unemployed. When you are out of work and looking for a job, you are in the vulnerable position of having to reveal information about yourself on a resume that in the wrong hands could help scammers gain valuable information about you that they could use for identity theft and other unlawful purposes.

It's hard to find a balance between providing potential employers with the information they need for considering you for possible employment versus maintaining your privacy.

Here are some tips to help you put yourself out there in the online job market while at the same time avoiding spammers and scammers.

1. Don't post sensitive personal information on your online resume

There is some information, according to Monster.com, that you should never post on your resume. These items include:

  • Social Security Number
  • Date of Birth
  • Drivers License Number
  • Bank or Credit Card Information
  • Passwords

While these may seem like no-brainers, many people post extremely sensitive details on their resumes that could end up in the wrong hands.

2. Take advantage of Job Search Website privacy options

Monster, Careerbuilder, and others have privacy options that can help you keep your job search and resume more private without significantly reducing your chances of being seen by prospective employers. The job search website's help section will have more information regarding how to use these features. Make sure you understand how the site's privacy options will affect who can see your information and who can't.

3. Consider putting your resume into "confidential" viewing mode

Resumes that are in "private" viewable mode are not going to garner as much visibility as those that are "public" viewable, however, scammers can set themselves up as prospective employers and pull resumes that are public-viewable mode for the purpose of targeting you for scams. How can you balance high visibility with personal privacy? Many job search sites will let you place your resume into "confidential" mode where everything on your resume is available for public viewing except for the current company you work for and your contact information.

Prospective employers will still be able to reach you via the job search engine's pseudo e-mail address that is set up for you when you created an account, but scammers won't have access to your coveted private e-mail address and other contact information that might be useful to them.

4. Beware of Reshipping and Money Laundering Scams

Online job search engines are often a hotbed for scammers trying to unwittingly recruit people to participate in the reshipment of stolen goods and/or money laundering activities. They may even make the people they are coaxing into these activities believe that they are a legitimate job, or are part of the job application process.

You might think that you would never fall for something like this, but you have to remember that these scammers have refined their scams over years and years of trial and error. They know what works and what is believable. For more information on these types of scams please visit Monster's Money Laundering and Reshipping Scams article.

5. If the job sounds to good to be true, it is likely a scam

No experience necessary? $30,000 a month while working from home? These are tell-tale signs of online scams that waste your money and your time. Scammers get paid by affiliate marketers for posing these bogus job ads onto sites like Monster.

6. Beware of fake employers that want you to install something to your computer

Scammers want to get you to install malware onto your computer so they can make money from malware affiliate marketing programs that pay them for every computer that they can trick users into installing the affiliate's software onto. One way they accomplish this is by placing ads on job search sites that convince users to click an attachment or link as part of a fake job application process. Once the user does this, their computer is infected with malware and may end up as part of a botnet for attacking other computers.

Make sure your anti-virus and anti-malware scanners are updated prior to embarking on your online job search. If something looks fishy, always run a scan if you think you may have downloaded or installed something that might be harmful to your computer.

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