It’s never easy being out of work. A friend of mine recently was laid off due to budget cuts at her company. In fact, the day she was let go her company let go of about ten percent of its workforce. She is determined to find a new job and, like many people, has turned to the Internet to help her find a new position. She and I recently sat down to talk about the benefits – and perils – of using various sites while job searching.
Craigslist is one source to search for jobs, but unfortunately, it’s also full of fraudulent entries designed to take advantage of people. Identity thieves are now using Craigslist to lure people who are looking for employment into submitting their personal information to be later used for identity theft.
Craigslist has no requirements on verification to protect users from fraudulent entries. This is a problem that Craigslist has acknowledged and is trying to address.
I recently read about a woman who responded to a Craigslist ad for an administrative assistant position in the state of Florida. The woman received an email with a link to download a program to complete an application for the job. To her surprise, she later discovered the link was to a website in an Eastern European country. Fortunately, she has not been a fraud victim, but her personal information is out there which makes her vulnerable to identity theft.
Here are some clues to help you avoid employment scams:
1. Approach with caution: Scammers will request your resume to get your address, phone numbers, and sometimes a Social Security number. Avoid giving out any personal information beyond your first name and your email address until you have researched and determined that the company is legitimate. Never give out your Social Security number during the initial interview process.
2. Pay attention to the amount of information posted: Legitimate companies will include the name of the business, name of the person requesting services, phone number or email address at the very least.
3. Search it: Research the company through a reputable online search engine. If no business name is found, proceed with caution.
4. Never send money or share account information: Legitimate jobs would not request this. If a posting asks, flag it and move on.
If you think you have been targeted by an employment scam on Craigslist, visit the Craigslist scam website at http://www.craigslist.org/about/scams.